How to survive the next snowpocalpyse with ease

A Minnesotan offers tips for Texans so they can tackle the next ice storm like true winter soldiers

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Ellen Fox

Maybe the next time Texas rooflines and street signs sprout icicles, Texans can fare a little better if we can just ask, “What would a Minnesotan do?”

Amelia Qualey, editor in chief, The Lantern, Cannon Falls High School, Cannon Falls, Minn.

On one sizzling summer day when I was little, a tragedy struck. As I was attempting to enjoy a cherry popsicle from the comfort of my blue, $8 kiddy pool, intense rays of heat derived from the sun attacked my sweet confection. Frantically, I tried to catch the thawing treat, but my efforts were impotent.

In a chaotic motion, the refreshing dessert tumbled to the ground. And while ants started to feast on it, I marched dejectedly into the kitchen with my sticky hands to beg my mother for another goody. Sadly, in a true motherly fashion, however, my mom recited her “one treat a day” motto, and my demands were immediately shut down. Being a Minnesotan, I was outraged by this event because an unconventional heat that possessed the power to melt a frozen sweet in such a quick manner was a rare occurrence for me.

That day, I was not prepared for my treat to depart so soon, but now that I have experienced a popsicle funeral first hand, I believe I would have a better chance of saving its life next time. When it comes down to rescuing a popsicle or anything else in life, practice makes perfect, and although this saying may be a bit cliché, it has held true in numerous scenarios across the country. In fact, recently, it has dramatically affected how people respond to cold weather.

Although snow can certainly bring a few unpleasant experiences, it can also help create fond memories with friends. Photo by Owen Edstrom/The Lantern.

Growing up as a MinneSNOWtan, I have experienced my own fair share of weather phenomena, and with every snowflake, tornado and popsicle accident, I have gained more knowledge and practice. And although the weather has been horridly cold with temps below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (not counting the wind chill), my roots as a Midwesterner have equipped me with the skills to survive.

Scraping thin sheets of ice off the windshield of my car may not be my favorite daily practice, but it is a crucial part of my life during the winter, and lately, it has become a new routine for some Texans as well. Lamentably, most Texans have not been blessed with a snow survival guide like I have, so their reactions to the clusters of frozen rain have been slightly cumbersome.

It is not their fault, but at the moment, Texans and other people who are experiencing the joys of snow for the first time, are about as well-versed in the weather as I was at saving my popsicle from a dirt and grass bath. If the roles were reversed, however, and I was thrown into a warmer climate, I would most likely melt like the cherry-flavored ice.

Right now, times are tough for Texans, and I would like to help out by sending them some of my most effective tips and tricks for combating the horrors of cold weather their way. The main tactics Minnesotans tend to agree on are:

  1. Always warm your car up 10 to 15 minutes before you drive it.
  2. Keep blankets and extra warm snow apparel in your vehicle in case your car breaks down in the middle of a storm.
  3. Never leave home without an ice scraper in your car.
  4. If you slide into the ditch, always shut your car off.
  5. If your car doesn’t have four-wheel drive, you can put bags of sand in the back of your car to help with traction when the roads are bad.
Ice fishing is one of the most popular winter festivities in the Midwest. (Gavin Huneke)

Dealing with wicked winter weather can be a drag, but there are also positives that come from the precipitation of snow. Many students here love the snow because it allows them to participate in various activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, sledding, skiing, snowboarding and more.

“[Although] I love catching huge walleyes on Mille Lacs, my favorite thing about ice fishing is not catching big fish,” said Carson Hammel, an ice fishing fanatic at CFHS. “My favorite part is watching the sunrise early in the morning on the ice.”

Ice fishing is one of the most beloved winter activities in Cannon Falls, but a close second is definitely snowmobiling. Owen Edstrom, who has been snowmobiling for as long as he can remember expressed his fondness for snowmobiling by saying that “It is fun to go really fast and hear the engine.”

Weather, much like life and the status of my popsicle, is unpredictable. It brings challenges and joys, but the important message to note is that handling it can become easier with practice. Most Midwesterners certainly aren’t pros at grappling with warm weather, so I can’t imagine trying to fill the shoes of Texans who are trying to adapt their ways to frigid temperatures and conditions for the first time right now. Southerners, we wish you the best of luck; stay warm and strong through these hard times.

Amelia Qualey is the editor in chief of The Lantern, the student newspaper at Cannon Falls High School in Cannon Falls, Minn.