Expectations & Preparedness

In honor of the first flurries of the season this week I’d like to give my opinion on something: Southerners and Winter.

I went to a Super Small Southern School for college, while it was almost a full day’s drive south for me it was a big move north for some of my co-eds. A lot of people I met from FL, TX, LA had to buy their first ever winter coat to come to college. My freshmen year the first inch of snow we got I had people stopping me and crying out “How do you COPE with this?!”

I had to actively dispel a common misconception among them: Northerners are not immune to cold or snow. When it is 35 degrees out, I feel just as cold as you do. (And yes some of them thought that because I was from the north I wouldn’t feel as cold as they did) After living there for 4 years my conclusion is handling winter all comes down to expectations and preparedness.

The difference between northerners and southerners when it comes to winter is that northerners expect weeks of 30 degree weather. When it’s February, we expect to be cold. We expect it to snow and we expect to need things like hats, scarves, gloves and boots. Just like people in buffalo NY expect it to snow feet at a time every year, no one there bats an eye when this happens.

People from the north mock people from the south because when they get an inch of snow everything shuts down. While living there I learned this: This is not their fault and they’re not over-reacting. When it snows an inch in the south it is the equivalent of it snowing 6+ inches up here. They don’t have salt or snow plows to remove it from the streets so everyone can go about their business. That I think surprised me the most about living there. The county had 1 snow plow. That’s it, just 1, and no salt. So with just an inch of snow, driving became hazardous because it just stayed on the roads and froze.

Really the reason I was inspired to write this is because a friend of mine has moved here for graduate school from Charleston SC and came prepared with a fall-type jacket and was proudly declaring he was going to live with just a small space heater for the winter. He’s in shock that we’ve had flurries in October and has already turned on his heater 😉
And this reminds me of another funny story. Freshmen year of college one of my good friends from New Orleans had to be corrected because he thought we didn’t get snow on the roads in the north because we had heated streets. Yes, heated streets. Ahhh the magic of salt and snow plows.

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