Snow in Fulton v. Syracuse

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

One day recently when I woke up, the guy on the radio was telling me that the Syracuse area was going to be getting up to 12 inches of snow that day. He was talking about schools being closed or delayed and larger amounts of snow in “lake effect areas.”

Listening to the weather forecast when it includes snow can be very confusing around here. Before you know it you are hearing terms like “lake effect,” north of the thruway,” “snow belt,” “wind-chill factor” and “freezing rain” being thrown around.

I got out of bed and looked out of the window. There was no snow – not even a flake – in the air.  That was about 6:30 a.m. By 7:30 it started to snow and by noon, there was six to seven inches of new snow on the ground – and on the sidewalks, on the deck, in the driveway, and on the steps to the front door. It was all waiting to be shoveled.

Maybe the man on the radio knew what he was talking about after all.

Although I grew up, and now live, in Syracuse, I spent 32 winters living in Fulton and shoveling its snow. When snowfall is the subject, I clearly appreciate the difference between Fulton and Syracuse.

When I was a kid growing up in Syracuse, about a mile from where I live now, “snow was snow.”  I don’t remember worrying about “lake effect” or “snow belts.”

The best thing that could happen back then was getting so much snow overnight that the schools were closed. If there was a lot of snow and schools weren’t closed, we would complain and be very unhappy about having to “go out in all that snow” and trudge off to school.

But on the mornings we heard that “schools are closed” announcement, we quickly put on our boots and snow clothes and spent the whole day outside rolling around in that snow which was “way too much” when we had to walk to school.

When we moved to Fulton a couple of years after we were married, I guess I looked at Fulton’s huge piles of snow and realized that it seemed to snow all the time here and the snow piles were a lot bigger, but I still thought: “Snow is snow.” I don’t remember thinking much differently about snow than we did in Syracuse.

Some of the Fultonians we met liked snow, others didn’t like it so much, but we all lived with it. We planned on it; we got up a little earlier if we thought we might have to do a lot of shoveling and I hope that we learned to do what we had to do to get everything done without complaining too much.

We figured out right away that we weren’t going to get a lot of sympathy from native Fultonians or folks who had lived through a couple of Fulton winters.

I think those of us who weren’t born in Fulton were able to adjust to Fulton’s winter weather quickly; we shoveled more snow and we did it more often; we didn’t always worry about getting the car out of the garage – we walked; and even as adults, we thought snow could be fun.

But I discovered that my newly-adopted attitude towards dealing with more snow wasn’t necessarily passed on to my Syracuse relatives.

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