Here in the frozen wasteland of the Upper Midwest, we know how to clear streets even during blizzards to ensure that traffic continues and schools can stay open. In Chicago, where the lake effect creates huge dumps of snow in cold winters, they have the same expertise. However, ice storms are another matter entirely. Schools close as people want to keep children off the roads and traffic to a minimum while the streets remain dangerous. That’s one of the few appropriate times we can say that it’s all about the children.
Or at least it used to be. Barack Obama today told Washingtonians they needed to toughen up and send their kids to school when the roads ice over:
The suburban schools systems and many private schools in the region were closed today and the District public schools opted for a delayed opening because of the sleet and freezing rain that made some roads and many sidewalks treacherous.
“Because of what? Because of some ice?” Obama said to laughter around the table. He said Sasha, his 7-year-old, pointed out that in Chicago, not only is school never canceled for snow, “you’d go outside for recess. You wouldn’t even stay indoors.”
He concluded by saying: “We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town. I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”
Spoken like a true Hawaiian. Schools don’t close for snow in Chicago and Minneapolis because we have large infrastructures to deal with the reliably heavy snowfalls in our communities. That’s not the case in many areas socked in this week by snowstorms stretching from St. Louis to Schenectady and beyond. An unplowed inch or two of snow on the ground means a lot of accidents in areas unused to that kind of weather, and for that matter here as well.
An ice storm, with a sheet of tractionless ice on the road, practically guarantees accidents by the scores, if not by the hundreds. It would close schools here and in Chicago as well.
And this is the man who wants to tell us what the weather means and why we have to completely revamp our energy production because some years are hotter than others?