News & Community

Freezing Lessons

A year after the blizzards, we reflect on what we learned.

1. Make sure you’re stranded in a fun area.
If the weatherman is calling for a huge snowfall, plan ahead so you can be “stranded” in a good spot with plenty of places to walk. Cabin fever got to us all last year, but the smart folks made sure they were in trudging distance to a local restaurant, bar, or movie theater when the boredom kicked in.

2. Keep your house well stocked with the right things.
For some reason, when the weatherman predicts snow, everyone runs to the grocery store to buy tons of milk, eggs, and bread. That’s all well and good, but, when it really counts, you’ll need a decent liquor cabinet, a current version of Trivial Pursuit, your book club’s latest selection, and the most entertaining Wii game you can find.

3. When the city bans driving, you probably shouldn’t drive.
We knew the snow was really extreme when the city outlawed driving. Even still, we saw some daredevils in SUVs, who thought they were above the law, cruising the snowy streets. We also saw them skid, swerve, and smack right into mailboxes.

4. Establish ground rules for lawn chair use.
Now, we totally understand saving your spot with a lawn chair (or orange cone, trashcan lid, etc). You worked hard to dig out that spot, and you have the right to reserve it—for a time. Just don’t overextend lawn chair use. Also, under no circumstances can you place a lawn chair in a spot you didn’t dig out. That’s just poor form.

5. Be a friendly neighbor.
It’s true that you don’t really know your neighbors until disaster strikes. Instead of being cooped up, a lot of people are out shoveling walks, digging out cars, or supervising snowball fights. This is a chance to be a good neighbor, whether it’s lending a shovel or helping the mom down the street fit her minivan into a parking spot.

6. There could always be another one!
Just when we thought all the madness was over last February, another snowstorm reared its ugly head. So don’t go out and shovel too soon because you might just get plowed back in and have to do it all over again.

7. Shovel your roof. Seriously. This may be common knowledge for someone who grew up in Minnesota, but we Baltimoreans never really knew we had to scrape our roofs with shovels. That is, until last year. The last thing you need during a winter storm is a leaky roof.

8. Always have a shovel, ice scraper, and brush in your car.
One of the worst feelings is knowing you have to dig out your car and you’re totally unprepared. As pleasant as asking total strangers for help can be, it’s always better to be self-reliant. And go to the hardware store early, before they’re all cleaned out.

9. Have fun with it.
Don’t let the snow get you down. When else does the city basically shut down, you get days off work, and you’re allowed to act like a kid again? Get in a snowball fight, go sledding, and make snow angels. Go ahead, we won’t judge.

10. Plan a vacation!
We know some people who had incredibly good timing and spent the 2010 blizzards down in the Caribbean. Try your luck and book a flight to a warmer climate so you can avoid the snow (and all its inherent drama) completely.