Thursday started off in Grass Valley and Nevada City with a beautiful Hollywood-set snowstorm. I
Of course, as with most snowstorms around here, the next day dawned with a small amount of snow remaining in town, soon to be washed away by further rain.
It’s always a bit amusing to watch people drive in the snow.
I came into Grass Valley in the morning, driving in from Penn Valley. It was snowing but no snow was sticking, and people were driving fairly normally. I went to Flour Garden and read the paper, enjoying the frisson of excitement as people discussed the storm, over coffee. There was talk of sledding and snowmen.
As usually happens, those without 4wd get a little nervous about getting home. And then people take to the road, afraid to get snowed in. The drive from the Brunswick basin towards Grass Valley was slow, and careful. Sensibly, most people stayed in the slow lane, following in each others’ tracks. The funny thing was, once in Grass Valley, while the snow was still falling apace, the roads were merely wet, yet people kept chugging along at about 30 mph.
The biggest problem in traffic on a freeway under normal conditions is not so much speed as difference between the speed of adjacent cars. The other problem is people doing things which are unusual and unpredictable. Once the snow starts falling, these problems are exaggerated. Some people drive extremely slow and others drive aggressively (typically inexperienced drivers with 4wd). The best policy is caution, and to accommodate those who are intimidated and avoid those who are not. Yet, I had to laugh, when halfway to Penn Valley, as the snow turned to rain, that many cars were still crawling along at about 40mph.
I took a side trip to Raley’s where I took the little video, above.
Just a few hundred feet above Grass Valley and Nevada City the snow was deeper, colder and more slippery. This morning the trees of Banner Mountain and Harmony Ridge were still dusted with white, while the downtown areas were thinly covered with a couple of inches of snow. Little enough snow remained that the daffodil sprouts along the offramps were poking through, promising warmer days ahead.
Post by Richard Webster