You Call This Winter? Come To Rochester

The Hartford Courant

As a born and raised Rochestarian, trust me when I say, I know snow.

With Rochester being a 15-minute drive away from Lake Ontario, an hour east of Buffalo and less than two hours from Canada, I've had my fair share of encounters with snow and all its pleasant after effects.

I know snow in all speeds, velocities and angles. See, in upstate New York, we speak a whole different language; beginning with "freezing" and ending somewhere around "lake-effect."

Upstate, we prepare to take our road tests in snow, we prepare our Halloween costumes around snow, hell we even prepare a tent for March weddings just because you never know in Rochester.

In fact, an entire section of our city newspaper is called "Coldrush." If this special coverage of winter isn't humorous enough all by itself, the kicker is that the intent behind this section is to encourage people to visit Rochester!

Apparently we're under the impression people (other than those charged with operating snowplows 24/7) enjoy the six-month winter wonderland.

Oh yes. There is a Coldrush season activity list, which includes our annual snowfall derby, a 2013 Coldrush event calendar, and they even offer our frostbitten visitors a Coldrush hotel package deal. Isn't that thoughtful?

After all my days in Snowy Town, U.S.A, I have noted a remarkable fact when looking back on my childhood. I can count on two hands the number of times school was canceled in the years I spent going from kindergarten through high school in Rochester. When compared to the number of times I've had a shovel in my hand, however, there are not enough bones, muscles and organs in my body combined to match that grand total.

I'd say I'm fairly familiar with snow.

When I accepted my offer to attend the University of Hartford in West Hartford, however, it was like someone handed me a new script for winter behavior.

You want to witness ill-prepared chaos? Just mention the word snow to a New Englander.

At the sight of a snow flurry, universities close, small businesses shut down, bosses are dissuade their employees from "being on the roads" and surrounding supermarkets prepare for another Y2K.

I've always wondered, what's all the fuss about? Connecticut and Massachusetts do not get any more snow than we do, so what causes this panic?

West Boylston, a suburb of usually snowy Worcester, led Massachusetts with 34.5 inches of snow during the February 2013 blizzard. Hamden claimed the title in Connecticut with 40 inches from the same storm, which some called the worst since the famous blizzard of 1888.

According to Boston's Logan Airport, where 24.9 inches accumulated, February's storm was the fifth biggest snowfall in more than 100 years of record keeping in the city.

Outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino ordered the city's schools to close and urged all businesses to consider allowing staff to stay home to keep vehicles off the snow-filled highways.

"We are hardy New Englanders, let me tell you, and used to these types of storms. But I also want to remind everyone to use common sense and stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home," Menino told reporters. "Stay put after noontime tomorrow."

The Blizzard of 2013 is ranked just behind the April Fool's Day storm in 1997 when Boston received 25.4 inches of snow. Boston's all-time record of 27.5 inches which fell during the President's Day Storm in February 2003.

Aw, it's OK, New England; I know you feel burdened by the reported 67.2 inches of snow Worcester endures in the average year.

Maybe when you guys reach the average snowfall of 115.6 inches that blankets upstate New York each season, we can hit some record books together. Until then, there's no excuse for not keeping up with the road clearing to stem the lost profits for businesses throughout New England.

Brooke Tallinger, 21, of Penfield, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, is a senior majoring in media and journalism at the University of Hartford.

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