5 things we learned from the 2016 snowstorm

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5 things we learned from the 2016 snowstorm

5:02 p.m. PST December 16, 2016

When snow falls in Salem, it’s typically just decorative. So when more than a dusting falls, it’s a treat and time to play.

And boy, oh boy, do we like the snow.

Sure, we hated the lines and hours of traffic Wednesday as drivers cautiously skated across the city, but the second we got home, piled on layers and went back out, the world was a tranquil winter wonderland.

We watched as soft flakes fell from the dark sky into Thursday morning. Students and teachers crossed their fingers hoping for more snow days.

As the week went on, families went adventuring, looking for snow they could pack into threatening snowballs, bulky snowmen or even mini hills to sled down.

Now the skies have cleared. Temperatures are expected rise and ice will begin to melt.

What did we learn from this brief stint of snow?

1. Any snow will do

It didn’t matter if there was half a foot or one inch of snow, Salem residents were ready to play in it.

Across Salem and surrounding areas, snowmen of all shapes and sizes could be found, standing in the midst of snow-stripped grass.

Families scooped snow into buckets in northeast Salem on Thursday to collect to build ramps for sledding.

And it didn’t matter if the snow was dirty or if we were soaked and freezing afterwards, because we were playing with snow! And for some families, it may have been their first chance to see snow in their front yard.

2. We do NOT want to drive in the snow

Whether you are an expert snow driver, or have never driven in the snow in your life, no one wanted to be on the roads this week.

Cars were backed up for hours and already high-traffic areas were extra terrible mid-week.

Even Friday morning, drivers were slipping and sliding into downtown, especially at stop lights.

If your workplace was closed, chances are you stayed home or walked.

And for good reason. There were plenty of crashes and everyone could hear the sound of tires digging out of slushy ruts on their commutes home.

City officials said Friday the roads are now passable, but to still drive with caution. Temperatures over the next few days might end up melting, but then re-freezing the ice, making it dangerous for drivers.

3. Snow is romantic as all get out

Ah, the city covered in a blanket of snow. The perfect backdrop.

For Matt Behrens, the snow provided the perfect opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Shannon Kernan.

When the snowstorm thwarted his plan to take her to dinner, he instead shoveled “Marry me” in the snow.

It was reported Kernan came out in her bathrobe to see Behrens on one knee with the snow-made love note behind him.

Go ahead, Salem residents, follow suit. Don’t worry, there is still snow on the ground … it counts

4. Snow time = lazy time …

“Netflix and chill” took on new meaning this week.

If you were working from home or had the day to rest, it was a great time to cozy up on the couch in your favorite pajamas, make some hot cocoa (with marshmallows) and put on your favorite flick.

So go ahead, pile on your softest blankets, turn off the lights, pop some popcorn and spend hours laughing, crying and eating chocolate.

5. … for some

Not everyone got time off this week.

Public works officials, utility repair crews, and emergency responders are among the many men and women who had to go out in the storm.

County and city workers cleared and sanded major roads, allowing food delivery employees to drop off our deep dish pizza.

And for that, we are thankful. No, seriously — I really enjoyed the pizza we ordered Thursday. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Also, the city came together to help those who didn’t have another place to go in the snow, creating a new warming shelter to take in 60 people in need.

Contact Natalie at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist.

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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

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