From Snow States, Tales Of Being Snowed In

Snow-staters think those in the mid-Atlantic are a bunch of whiners. They're used to being pummeled by back-to-back blizzards. They share their "hunkered-down-in-3-feet-of-snow" stories — from a high school with no Farrah Fawcett hair to a father's sanity saved by Kunta Kinte, plus the cunning architecture of Colorado miners, determined to answer nature's call come heck or high snow.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Outside the Capitol today, some signs of normalcy after yesterdays blizzard. The sun came out, snowmen on the Capitol lawn began to melt. Roads in front of the Capitol were clear of snow, though traffic remained light.

(Soundbite of snow plow)

BLOCK: Just before noon, one plow was at work moving the last piles of snow from the sidewalk.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

On the Capitol steps, security guards stood watch, their faces wrapped in balaclavas to keep warm, we assumed, and they had some company.

(Soundbite of crowd)

NORRIS: A group of tourists from Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Ms. ELENA NAZARAVA(ph): Okay, cheese.

NORRIS: Elena Nazarava says theyre enjoying their visit to Washington despite the weather.

Ms. NAZARAVA: This is my first trip and I like it really much. Today's sun is really shine and (unintelligible).

NORRIS: Of course, Saint Petersburg has its own share of snow and so do many of you for listening to us from places far more accustomed to foot after foot of white stuff. A few days ago, we asked you, our friends in the snow states for some help. We asked you to share your advice and your stories about hunkering down under three feet of snow.

BLOCK: And weve got letters, lots of letters from Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Massachusets, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and we even got a shout out from Switzerland. There was a lot of advice.

If its sunny, wear your shades. Seriously, being snow blind is no myth. Jim Pastric(ph) of Buffalo, New York, thank you. And there was a lot of teasing. In Ohio, we consider 36 inches a dusting. William Schlotterer(ph) of Sandusky: thanks for rubbing it in.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: And a lot of stories. Here are just a few. Jenny Heim(ph) wanted to remind us that big storms can put us all at the same level. She remembers a freak ice storm in her hometown of Topeka, Kansas back in 1984. She was a senior in high school. And she writes: My family lost power for a week. After three days, Topeka High had electricity again and we all went back to school -many of us still without any electricity at home. Heim continues: Again, this was 1984, and the Farrah Fawcett hairstyle dominated. This look required a minimum of one hours efforts with blow dryer, hot rollers and curling iron, none of which were operational.

I still enjoy the memory of returning to school and seeing many usually impeccably quaff cheerleaders and other high school glitterati with woefully flat heads, not a feather or flip in sight.

BLOCK: I am a survivor of the blizzard of 77 in Western New York.

NORRIS: This is from Frank Vale(ph), who now lives in Irving, New York.

BLOCK: He writes this: My mother was stranded at Buffalo General Hospital, working as a nurse. We would not see her for a full week, leaving my father to take care of my four siblings and me. Once the storm subsided, we spent our days clad in snowsuits. Armed with our sleds, we ran up the stairs of our neighbors house, out of a bedroom window and down the snowdrift that had grown to the top of the porch roof outside. Frank Vale goes on: At night we all settled in for the next episode of Alex Haleys Roots. There was no doubt in my mind that my fathers sanity was saved by Kunta Kinte.

NORRIS: Now, to the furthest north. Zack Sheldon(ph) lives 40 miles outside of Haines, Alaska. So its no wonder that he writes this: Im one of those listeners you guys were talking about, where I hear about the chaos you face with the snow and I roll my eye.

BLOCK: In Haines, they can get as much as 400 inches of snow each winter and the temperature can sink to 25 below zero. Sheldon says he has woken up with his blankets frozen to the wall.

NORRIS: Oh, that sounds scary. He writes: One night last winter we got over three feet of snow. I had to shovel our driveway in order to get my car out so I could make it to work. Doesnt sound too bad until you consider its nearly a quarter mile of driveway I have to clear by hand.

BLOCK: Sheldon got to work three days later, thanks to the help of some friends with shovels.

NORRIS: And right now, he tells us, theres six feet of snow in our front yard and we love it.

BLOCK: We received this frozen bit of architectural history from Lynn Wright(ph). She says: The old time Rocky Mountain miners in Crested Butte, Colorado knew how to embrace, enjoy and live with the snow rather than pushing it to the side and cursing it. They had built their houses narrow and tall with steeply pitched roofs and put outside doors on the second floor, even the outhouses had lower summer and upper winter levels. Lynn concludes, by level crappers, now thats enjoyment.

NORRIS: Finally, Peter Stickney(ph) of Saxtons River, Vermont tells us what youre likely to hear among locals during a snowstorms.

BLOCK: Suppose it will ever stop snowing, Michele?

NORRIS: Always has.

BLOCK: Well, weve enjoyed your snowbound stories, your wit and, yes, even your mockery as we continue to dig out from under our historic snow. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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