Last weekend's descent of snow on Columbia happened to revive an old controversy: The inability of Southern cities to deal with snowfall. Although this incident of precipitation mercifully did not render the entire state immobile for several days, snow that falls on the South generally has major consequences.
Students from the North may scoff at winter apprehension on the part of the university and city government. To clear the air, I was born in Eastern Illinois, but my 12 years of living in South Carolina have faded my Yankee tendencies. The South’s collective fear of the white stuff is simple: lack of preparedness. Many living in the lower states have little to no experience driving in snow, and would laugh at the prospect of investing in snow-resistant gear for cars. Since the city of Columbia gets around one inch of snow a year, as opposed to the 26 inches of the average city in the United States, the local government has little incentive to create an anti-snow budget. Combined with the poor quality of roads in the state, it creates a perfect storm of ignorance and lack of infrastructure.
To be fair, only the most humorless of people could ignore the hilarity of Southerners in snow. The first snowflake falls like the crack of a footrace pistol as the locals herd to the supermarket to collect milk and bread, ironically some of the most perishable items available for purchase. The purpose of these items is lost on me — perhaps milk sandwiches?
So next time the University closes over two inches of snow, enjoy the time away from classes, especially those among you who will wear shorts all through the event.