The Weather Channel was in town

Winter Storm Iago came blasting through yesterday, bringing cold weather and snow. Once it passed, we had the first clear and sunny weather since last weekend.

As I watched The Weather Channel yesterday, I was surprised to hear them say that they had somebody broadcasting live from Canton, North Carolina. ("Hey! That's where my post office is!")

The same guy had been reporting earlier in the day from Burnsville, a couple of counties away from Canton. There was a big mud- and rock-slide in Burnsville. In Canton, that reporter was near McDonald's - I could see it in the background - standing in the rain and telling about the wintry weather to come.

This morning he was back on TV, again live from Canton, acting goofy in the crusty snow and nearly wiping out on a patch of ice. To be fair, he was trying to show how slippery it was.

I went to sleep yesterday afternoon listening to the fourth straight day of rain fall on my roof. When I woke up to a ringing phone at 9 PM, the storm was over and the stars shone in a crystalline sky.

The phone call was from my boss. She asked if I could come in a bit early since she sent somebody else home due to the weather. That person lives high on a mountain so she let him go before the weather got any worse, but that meant that she had to mind the store until I came in. She has to be back at 5 AM and wanted to get enough sleep.

Of course I said I'd be right in. The driving wasn't too bad. The roads were warm enough from this past week's steady warm temperatures, so there wasn't much ice. Stamey Cove, my shortcut across the mountains, was slushy but not too dangerous if one drove with care. There is one sharp and steep switchback on Stamey Cove but it's downhill on my trip into town. I put the car in neutral and crept down that section without any problems.

During my entire drive I saw only one car off the road.

Things quickly started freezing up as the night went on. All the slush in the parking lot at work froze up and you could hear cars coming, before you could see them, as they crunched loudly over the clumpy ice.

For my trip home this morning I demurred on the Stamey Cove route. That switchback is too steep to bother taking a chance on my ability to climb it with black ice everywhere. Instead I drove through Canton and stopped at that McDonald's for a Sausage Egg McMuffin. I had been hungry all night and decided to treat myself in honor of Old Man Winter, but I'm cheap too - so all I got was the McMuffin. I still had coffee left over from work.

The drive home was a slow one. The roads had been plowed and salted but there were still a lot of icy patches as well as continuing runoff from all the rain we got this week. The aforementioned car was still sitting on the roadside, tilted at about 30°.

I know how to drive on snow and ice. Don't use the cruise control, take it easy on curves, give yourself plenty of time to stop, drive as close to dead-straight as possible on bridges, etc. What worries me is oncoming drivers. Do they know what they are doing? Are they going to fishtail as we meet on this curve?

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