Polar Vortex. Who came up with the idea of renaming “Cold as a witches…”? Really? Vortex? Isn’t that what forms in the toilet drain. Okay, so maybe in the sink. But who thinks of vortex as a descriptive of cold—not to mention that we are nowhere near either pole.
Why do we have to give cold weather a new name? What temperature warrants cold front? Progressing then to wind-chill, eventually upgraded …or downgraded as the case must be…to Polar Vortex. But, hold on! Weather broadcasters are meeting as I write. They might just be considering of a new classification. At some point the vortex must most surely become a Polarnado?
Foolishness if you ask me. And even if you didn’t ask me—why is it necessary to re-categorize “Baby, it’s cold outside”. Oh, wait. Now I know. There’s been recent revelations of risqué thoughts in that phrase.
Regardless of classification, the temps and snow of this past week were not the coldest weather or the biggest snow storm I have experienced. I remember ice skating in the street as an adolescent and shoveling through snow drifts that were taller than I was in high school. Okay, so the shovel was taller than I was back then.
And speaking of shoveling snow. I don’t have to shovel now. I own a snow blower. Unfortunately, my mighty blower does not have sufficient thrust to overcome nor-easters if I push it southwest. One pass in the wrong direction down my drive reminded me of some rules of snow-engagement — as well as a time a few years ago when I shoveled my drive. Here’s the tale from 2014 that came to mind.
Lesson number one: Do not pitch fluffy snow into gusty wind. Even worse, do not spit into gusty -20 wind chill. Crystallized spittle at 30 knots will sting. Yeah, I know, don’t spit into the wind is as axiomatic as don’t squat with your spurs on. My only excuse is retarded brain waves at 10 below.
Immediately following the above lesson came number 2. Go into the garage to wipe ice shards from your face. The handkerchief may have retained moisture from previous use and said moisture may have retained heat while in the pocket next to your leg. Did I mention 25 mph wind at 10 below? That’s somewhat comparable to a liquid nitrogen blast. I didn’t think cloth could freeze quite so quickly.
These were experiences during my 6th pass of clearing the driveway of one foot of snowfall. Considering that wind-driven snow seeks refuge at the lee side of my garage (also known as vehicle entrances) clearing that portion of the drive resulted in a 7-foot pile. I was quite proud of that accumulation from my labors. There were just a few more shovel-fulls to top it off…which segues to my last lesson.
From the lee side of a 7-foot pile, do not attempt to toss snow over it. It is virtually impossible to predict the swirling pattern on the windward side until the snow leaves the shovel. The odds are not in your favor that the discharge will be vacuumed away from you. Au contraire. The physics of why snow swirls behind a van will become very apparent.
One final suggestion. Feed the birds before shoveling snow. If they opt to stay huddled and puffed up in the trees, rather than dining at the feeder, do not go outside to shovel snow.