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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter in Kansas

A few things to know about Winter in Kansas.

Usually, it's cold. Not Antarctic-kill-you-if-you-step-outside cold, but 30 degree highs and 0-10 degree lows with a wind chill. You'll want a coat, boots and thick gloves. And a ski mask because our winds keep blowing in Winter, and that north wind will peel the skin off your face if you're not careful. I add earmuffs because I can take almost anything but cold ears.

We don't see a lot of snow. We get sleet, freezing drizzle, the occasional ice storm, but snow doesn't happen as often as we would like, especially considering the cold temps. I mean, if you're going to freeze your nose off, you may as well have something pretty to look at, right?

When it does snow, people go a little crazy. SUVs think they're masters of the road, when in fact they tend to wind up in ditches and rollover accidents. An SUV can't stop any better than anyone else on snowpack. Keep that in mind, young'uns. Snow driving means down-shifting, slow speeds, and no tailgating.

Even in Winter, Kansas sun melts snow. What your parents may not have told you is to shovel your drive a) before you drive on it, and b) before the sun gets too high. If you get the snow off, the sun and wind take care of the remaining moisture, and you get a dry driveway by nightfall. If you don't clear it off, the sun melts the snow, and you get a sheet of ice by next morning. This holds true for clearing off your vehicle, too. Sun either heats a car and melts ice off the windows, or heats a car and turns snow left on a car into a thicker layer of ice.

This clearing and melting can backfire if the sun doesn't come out until late, but generally you're better off clearing than not clearing. It's good exercise, too, as long as you don't pull your brachioradialus muscle. 

Snow is both moisture and an insulator, so I always shovel it onto the flower beds. This is another good reason to move it before you drive on it. The chemicals used to clear roads have no business on your flower beds.

Any day above freezing will be a good day for the carwashes. Kansas drivers know to get the road sand and salt off their vehicles as soon as possible. With my growing affection for the new van, I'll be doing this myself when the opportunity arises.

We got snow this weekend, so I've been shoveling and scraping and pulling muscles. Good times.

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. Drive careful out there. 

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