Coventry Chronicles: The blizzard of 2017
Last weekend we got our first snow. As is so often the case with snowstorms, there was some hype leading up to it.
“It’s going to snow this weekend,” said, well, everyone. The grocery store was noticeably busier on Friday morning, with people stocking up on tins of steak and ale pie. But while there were a few flurries here and there that evening. We woke up Saturday morning to a crisp, clear day and we headed off to the park as usual.
I took my boys to a Christmas craft morning where all the moms were eating mince pies and saying that surely the snow was coming that night. I had to roll my eyes a bit because this is our third winter in the UK and I’ve hardly seen a flake of snow here. In fact, the only time I’ve seen snow in the past three years was at the beginning of last May, in Steamboat Springs.
But that morning, up at 2 a.m. to sooth a crying baby, I glanced out the window and sure enough, it was snowing real flakes of snow. And when we woke up again later, at a more appropriate hour, it was still coming down and Coventry was blanketed in picture perfect fluffy snow.
From our living room window, we watched the drama unfold. A truck got stuck, for no apparent reason, at the intersection down the road, forcing other cars around it. One car couldn’t get out of the tire grooves already in the road and gave up after trying for ten minutes, turned around and went the other way. A man trudged by, pushing his motorcycle by hand.
Keep in mind that it never snows here. A friend of mine who grew up in Coventry, texted me saying “I literally cannot remember the last time I saw this much snow.” There was about three inches on the ground at that point.
You’d be hard pressed to find a car in this city that has four wheel drive. There are no snowplows. I watched our neighbor try to brush off his windshield with an ice scraper.
Stir crazy by 10 a.m., we bundled the boys up and walked down to the store, in search of a sled. But when we got there, they were completely sold out. The sledding hill (I use the word hill very lightly here) was jam packed for two days straight, until there was hardly any snow left on it at all.
By the end of the day on Sunday, about six inches had accumulated. Schools across the country were canceled Monday and Tuesday (the roads were completely clear at this point). By Wednesday, a huge rainstorm had come through and washed away almost all the snow. The last traces of the snowmen were the carrots that littered front yards.
And yet, I got an email saying that the baby class that I take my son to on Thursdays (four days after the snow storm) was canceled “just in case there was still too much snow and ice.”
There is no doubt in my mind that there won’t be a spot of snow by the time Christmas rolls around, but everyone in England will always remember their one white Christmas.
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