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Sunshine, snowy roads and whiteouts

By Philip Anselmo

Blowing snow made for a tricky commute this morning. What was normally a forty minute drive became a near two-hour trek. Some stretches along Route 33 between here and Bergen were blotted out by blowing snow. A few whiteouts were so severe that once I had come out the other side, I found myself half off the road or veering dangerously near the oncoming lane.






All in all, though, it was an uneventful ride. Sunshine has replaced snow clouds. Fewer people are on the roads during the eleven o'clock hour. Plus, the highway crews have done one heck of a job getting the roads clear—as best they can while competing against a relentless, unceasing wind. Route 33 was the worst of it. This video should give you an idea of how bad it could get out there. This was a few hundred yards from the junction with I-490. Further down the stretch, the blowing snow was much more dense and blinding, but the sound of the wind more than the picture should give you a good idea of its ferocity. (You may just be able to make out Ingrid Haebler playing Mozart's piano sonata in E-flat major in the background.)

Anyhow, it couldn't have been that bad out. Not if the woman driving the blue-grey Buick ahead of me on I-490 felt no qualms about tailgaiting the car in front of her. She even found time to clean her car some while she was driving. At least, that's what seemed to be the case as she randomly through bits of paper and trash out of her window as she was driving.

If we can rewind a bit, back in Rochester, I ought to admit that I was slightly intimidated at first. Pulling out of the side street was a feat in itself, grinding through the hash of snow and slush. Then, at the gas station, the attendant had to come out and de-ice one of the nozzles for a customer whose gas had frozen inside the pump handle! Further on, a few miles down I-490, near Gates, a vehicle had flipped up onto its side and was quite literally balanced that way on the edge of the westbound lanes. A coterie of police and emergency vehicles were lined up behind it, but I was too busy navigating through the wraith-like whips of snow to snap a photo. From there on out, the drive was mostly go slow and pray.

So I'm safe, as I hope all of you are, as well. For those who have yet to brave the elements, don't be too lulled by the azure, sunny skies. A fierce wind still blows.

Oh yeah. Let's all wish this guy luck digging out...

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