how a snowstorm in the mid-atlantic is different than a snowstorm in the midwest

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January 23, 2016 by Ellen V

Okay, so we’ve seen a handful of snowfalls now in Virginia, and let’s be real clear: snow is snow. It’s not as thought snow looks or feels different hear than in Minnesota and Wisconsin, right?

But the level of anxiety regarding a snowfall?


There are a few differences, to be sure.

  • There are added precautions one must take while driving. Roads here tend to be hillier, curvier, and narrower than anywhere in the midwest, so they become treacherous much more quickly.
  • Additionally, snow removal equipment is not as easily found. Pre-salting the roads is almost unheard of. And typically, road clearing doesn’t begin until the snow has stopped.
  • Also, just because roads where I am currently are fine doesn’t mean they are fine even five miles than me, because elevation can affect temperature so much.
  • Enough about roads already! Also, no one wants to go out in this stuff–driving, walking, whatever–or even really go out in the cold. Everything is shut down more readily, and by “everything” I mean not only schools, but also banks, grocery stores, etc.
  • Power outages happen fairly often, too, in snow events, and because of the road conditions mentioned, it can take them a while to get fixed.
  • The good news? Folks are truly excited about the snow, especially children who must take advantage of the one or two times they might see it each year. The wine shelves are as clear as the milk shelves are, the mommy boards on Facebook are lit up with folks trying to find sleds and gloves for all their children, and the neighbors are all checking in on one another to make sure everyone is warm, fed, and happy.

Even in my Minnesota heart, I’m looking forward to the wind dying down and the sun coming out. And maybe getting back to business as usual?


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