“Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation.”
The late, great Will Rogers, the popularly beloved cowboy humorist-philosopher several generations back, remains eminently quotable today, but he didn’t make this pithy observation. The one who nailed this social ice-breaker (pardon the pun) was the man Rogers reportedly called “America’s greatest humorist,” Frank McKinney (“Kin”) Hubbard, a cartoonist, journalist and, yes, humorist.
How right was Kin? Think back to how your day started today and judge for yourself!
Coming into work this morning, I bypassed the Morris-Washington route for a Woodbury-Roxbury-Bridgewater run after Channel 3 reported 4 inches of snow in Washington. Who knew in my hometown (Watertown), but those in the Region 12 school district towns did as school openings were delayed.
Online this week is Max Wittstein’s story on just that topic: School districts’ ongoing dilemma of when to call in a closing or delay (see "Weather -- Whether ..." in the "Community" section).
The Public Works (or Highway) Department in area towns has a big challenge, too: When and where to get the trucks rolling.
Mike Zarba, New Milford’s PW director, took a few minutes from his busy morning to share what “typically” and not so typically takes place in the largest town in the state in terms of land area (approximately 62 square miles).
Here’s what I learned.
Yes, “We had all crews out early this morning,” Mr. Zarba said.
Yes, Washington may have had 4 inches of snowfall, but the “heights” on the eastern side of New Milford did too—“some 3 to 4 inches,” he said, which is both typical and not.
“Typically, there’s more precipitation there—Ridge Road area, Dorwin Hill, Second Hill, even Hickok Cross roads—because it’s higher,” the PW director said.
Not so typically, he added, “”We don’t get a lot of residual lake storm effect, coming from the north and heading almost southeast,” referring to the weather pattern that came in early today in from the Great Lakes—the band slicing across states shown on TV.
“Typically, the storms come from the west or southwest,” Mr. Zarba said.
Where the “weather” is generally expected to hit, when heavy conditions are forecast, are other high points—Long Mountain and Merryall areas, Geiger Road and “off [Route] 37,” up where he lives.
Today’s early morning snowfall was, for most people in the area, the first of the coldest season, but I spied big flakes hitting my windshield driving home from New Milford late last Wednesday night. Where? Up Route 317 from the crest of the hill above Maple Bank Farm toward the Roxbury-Woodbury town line, by the airplane hangar.
“Yep, it’s always there,” when the weather hits, confirmed Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry. “But we had it all over today, and our crews were out early, at 4, putting magic salt on the roads.”
“This is just the beginning,” said the Mallory Road resident, who shared that she usually “sees a lot” in her neck of the woods.