The real story of the ‘crippling’ snowstorm

Nobody ever went to the Headline-Writing Hall of Fame by writing, “Snowstorm is no big deal.” But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the snowstorm the headline writers yesterday described as “crippling,” has mostly been an inconvenience.

It’s true that there’s supposed to be a second wave of snow on Christmas, and that we may end up with a total of 12 inches or so. But two snowstorms separated by a break isn’t a 12″ snowstorm — it’s two 6″ snowstorms. And in Minnesota, a 6″ snowstorm — or two of them — isn’t a big deal.

By midmorning today, the work of the people who worked overnight in the Twin Cities was on display for all to see. And it shouldn’t go unrecognized.

I pulled out of my driveway onto the side street, and it was obvious travel wasn’t going to be a problem thanks to the city I live in.


Then, I turned onto the county road. That’s right; it’s down to pavement.


.. and finally onto MnDOT territory — I-494.


and I-94…


Then onto St. Paul city streets, which weren’t that great, but it’s downtown St. Paul. Who needs to get to downtown St. Paul?


Meanwhile, out at the airport, most of the flights are flying, despite plenty of cancellations (224, including arrivals).

In our rush to turn a snowstorm into a crippling tragedy, we missed the real story: There are a lot of people at this snow removal game, who are really good at what they do. And most Minnesotans know when and how to sit tight until they do it.

Here’s the latest official Golden Snowball Challenge measurement:

  • My street looks nothing like that. A plow line down the middle of the road, snowing in everyone who was parked there. In the places where no one was parked, it is now a huge pile of snow. Nicollet, the cross street I live on, isn’t much better. They haven’t plowed even close to the curb. I’ve noticed the buses are not pulling over but stopping in the middle of the street.

    Of course, if I walked down to a wealthier part of the city, it may be different.

  • Joe

    If any of you who work on the roads read this, I would like to say “Thank you for the hard work!”

  • Matt

    Kassie- Remember that they won;t be able to plow to the curb in Minneapolis until the official snow emergency starts tonight at 9 and the parking restrictions go into effect. Until then they are just plowing the main lanes on the main streets. By Saturday afternoon it will all be clear, just like every snowstorm in Minneapolis, as long as people move their cars. It just just takes a while. The big dissapointment is because of the city’s tight budjet they are not doing as much snow clearign around bus stops this winter. That is truly where the class concerns come in, not on how each street gets plowed.

  • Jon

    Always nice to hear that every time the weather isn’t a sun 70 degree’s that we are, in fact, not all going to die… But reality has never had much effect on weather forecasts in the past, why should it start now.

  • My point is that not all of us live in nice suburbs like Bob. My hood looks completely different than his.

    And my street didn’t get plowed properly last snow. I doubt it will this snow. And as everyone knows, the streets of Minneapolis get smaller and smaller as the winter goes on because they are never plowed all the way to the curb.

  • Bob Collins

    Kassie describes — perfectly — my experience in Boston when I was in college with my 1970 Volkswagon beetle. The streets were never plowed to the curb (how could they be? It was full of cars) , so — of course — we dug out our cars and, in the process… created parking “craters”.

    Once we dug out the cars, we didn’t want to give up the “craters” after we’d worked so hard. We’d put chairs and other stuff in them to declare them “ours.”

    We lost a lot of good chairs that way.

  • Al

    Speaking of ‘crippling’, my wife tells me WCCO was calling this the ‘Snowpocalype’ and ‘Snowmageddon’ yesterday. Wow. So far the forecast has been a ‘snowtastrophe’. I realize this is all part of the same storm system, but the snow from last night and tonight and tomorrow really seem like separate events.

  • Bob Collins

    That term actually originated on Twitter — I believe it came by way of Cincinnati — and is used derisively toward the hype.

  • Lois Garbisch

    We’ve gotten about an inch, total. We want our money back.