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Commentary Detail

Snow Panic in St. Louis
Commentary by: Elaine Viets
Aired February 18, 2009

St. Louis has had many changes. So it’s comforting that some things stay the same:

My hometown still panics at the threat of snow.

I said “threat.” The last time I was in St. Louis, the city had a few flakes. It looked more like powdered sugar than snow.

But the media acted as if the world had frozen over. News anchors warned drivers about treacherous overpasses. The bridges I’d crossed seemed fine. Maybe the overpasses were slick in other parts of the metro area.

The weather maps showed the approaching storm as if it were a monster on the loose. The snow was near St. Charles. It was going to overtake North County. People ran to the supermarket, bought all the bread and milk, and stayed home for the rest of the night.

I was at an event that night. About half the people didn’t show up – and they’d paid for their tickets. Maybe they were tired. Maybe they didn’t want to socialize.

But I think they were going through the usual snow panic.

St. Louis does get major snowstorms. The Eads Bridge freezes over, I-70 and the airport close. Even proud St. Louisans admit we don’t handle snow as well as Chicago or Boston. Those cities send out snowplows when the first flakes hit the ground.

We St. Louisans stay home – and stay cool when it comes to removing snow.

Our attitude is: God put it there, and God can take it away.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets


Elaine Viets is a freelance writer.

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