Looking out the window, it doesn’t seem like the winter wonderland mess the news is portraying. A thin blanket of snow is all I see, but according to the weather reports and my boyfriend, who says schools have been canceled – Syracuse, New York is being hit with freezing rain, causing unbearable road conditions. The cold set in last night, as we took a midnight drive and came back with frozen fingers. There was briskness in the air that settles in your lungs and makes you quickly shuffle off to warm safety.
I should have known we would get hit sooner or later – Syracuse enjoyed a stretch of weather about a handful of weeks ago with temperatures that brought back memories of spring and early summer. I don’t have to mention the assortment of people that were actually wearing shorts to the grocery store in order to make the point that it was pretty warm for January.
However, the freezing rain and light blizzard-like snow came down throughout the night in the same fashion as a couple of nights ago, but is looking much worse. I was riding in the car with my parents to deliver my brother and nephew to Rochester Airport at 3:30 in the morning. I’ve made this four-hour plus journey a couple of times because I want to make sure my mother actually makes it back (she has a habit of grabbing at the wheel when she thinks someone is driving out-of-sync, which infuriates my father – creating a semi-comical scenario to laugh about later, but never in-the-actual-moment).
The ride there was great and the weather seemed to be in our favor, but on the way back, a misty rain emerged, which turned into snow-like misty rain, which transformed into an odd downpour. We stopped in Clifton Springs for coffee. After hitting the road – the weather started up again and as large cargo trucks passed by – we caught the vision-blinding spray of dirty water, grime, and grit. With all this rain, I was curious as to why salt trucks were taking to the highway. I now know why.
We returned to Syracuse and it was raining, but something was different. The windshield showed signs of iciness, which was kinda strange. During these trips to Rochester, I’m usually looking for the end to bring a swerve in the road or two, or my father driving too close to the back of a car – an obvious sign of fatigue. But, this journey was painless and smooth (or so I thought). I was about three minutes from home – I was preparing my cell phone text message to my brother to let him know we got home safe. I didn’t actually send it until I reached the driveway – just so I wouldn’t jinx the end of our trouble-free ride.
As soon as we hit the driveway, I sent the text …but even that was too soon. The car took a violent slide sideways and nearly transported us into a tree located in our next-door neighbor’s yard. My father exclaimed that the road was icy, but I was skeptical and thought he came in a little too fast. Yet, when I got out of the car – I scanned the driveway and it was covered with a deceptively thin layer of ice. I examined the hood of the car and it was covered with a reasonably thick layer of ice that looked windswept towards the windshield. It was a very odd situation because the temperature around me felt a little warm and not reminiscent of freezing-cold weather.
Anyway, today the weather, ice, and cold temperatures have all combined to create an awful winter scene on the streets. The conditions are dangerous and thousands of people in surrounding counties are without power. An accumulation of slush is dominating the city streets, which could turn into a nightmare if nightly freezing temperatures arrive. According to Syracuse.com, several libraries are closed and even Fort Drum and the Meals on Wheels programs in various counties are suspended for today. Yet in still, when I look out my window – it all seems so harmless.