Pandemic snow day

The relationship of Portland to winter weather is a funny story. At the sighting of the first snowflake, everything shuts down. They don't plow any but a few streets, and for years they refused to use any salt whatsoever on the roads. Now they begrudgingly salt a few if it gets really icy. But that's it. To keep life running smoothly, they don't even try.

Few people who live in Portland know how to drive in the snow. And so if you venture out in your car, you have to be beyond defensive. There are recent California transplants who think they can still go 70 on black ice because they have four-wheel drive. Long-time residents usually just hunker down at home rather than deal with them.

With an inch or two of snow on the ground this morning, and more coming down through some stout east winds, it's clearly a snow day today here in the Rose City.

But what does that mean? It's dangerous to leave your house. Stay inside. Conduct your business virtually. Reschedule.

How is that different from yesterday, or the day before? Welcome to the last 11 months!

Part of the psychology of the Portland snow day is that the snow won't be with us for long. Usually it's gone in a few days, and things get back to normal in a hurry. So not much is lost by shutting everything down and waiting it out.

This time, there isn't much of a normal to get back to, at least not until the heat of summer. So this one feels different. It could be the strangest snow day ever.