First Snow of the Year

We had our first snow of the year overnight — a two inch covering that was just enough to make everything look lovely but not enough to seriously inconvenience. This rather annoyed my high schooler, who was hoping for a two-hour “snow delay” (where the school opens two hours late to give time for the streets to become drivable).

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It was fairly easy to clean off the cars first thing and — thanks to some preemptive brining followed by frequent ploughing by the borough — the streets were clear by 7:30 a.m. The distinctive brine marks on the streets yesterday evening, whitish swirls left behind by the spraying of a salt solution, were a sure sign that snow was on the way. (When we used to live in Chicago, which gets significantly more snowfall in any year than this region, you knew a storm was coming when snow ploughs would quietly line up near the major highways or be parked near key intersections.)

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This is one of the many benefits of living in a small town — the snow plough can get to most of the streets in a fairly short period of time. The same is not true within the city of Philadelphia itself, where clearing of smaller side streets basically equates with “wait for the thaw.”

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Aside from digging out the car, the worst part of snow in the ‘burbs is having to clear off your stretch of sidewalk — something you’re supposed to do within 12 hours of the snowfall ending. As the temperature looks set to remain below freezing for the next few days, this looks like one of those times when warmer temperatures won’t help the snow to melt away, so I’ll have to venture out with the shovel.

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In the city, where finding parking on the street in front of your home is always a battle, snow brings an added dimension of stress — digging out your car in the morning and leaving a nice clear spot, only to come home at the end of the day and find someone else has parked in it. So winter brings the annual struggle over “savesies” — people trying to save their cleared spot with cones, plastic chairs, rubbish bins etc.

This always prompts the Philadelphia Police Department to reiterate the “no savesies” policy. Yesterday’s Facebook post from the department is a classic.

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About abroadintheusa

An expat Brit who's lived and worked in the USA for more than three decades.
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