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Road to the Summit: Ice is not nice

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Two words, more than any other strike fear into any rational resident of the Kansas City metro area:

Ice Storm.

Closely related are two other words:

Freezing Rain.

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I moved to the Kansas City area from Brookings in late 2000. A little over a year later, in January 2002, the metro area got hit with possibly the worst ice storm in the history of the town. Ironically, I flew out of KC just before the storm hit, to work a disaster-recovery exercise in Philadelphia with the company I was working with then. My brother had come down from South Dakota to do some dog-sitting. He got more than he bargained for, as he was completely ice-bound with my dog for two full days.

You're nuts to even think about driving somewhere for at least a day after an ice storm.

Now I'm South Dakota born and bred, and have been through a few blizzards, and even an ice storm or two. The difference is that in South Dakota, if you get an ice storm, it's usually followed by one of those hellaciously bitter arctic cold snaps. 20 below zero is cold enough for ice to get sufficiently sticky that you can actually drive on it without instantaneously killing yourself or someone else. It's still a stupid thing to do, mind you, but it's not sheer madness.

It doesn't get to 20 below in Kansas City after an ice storm. Oh, no. It stays somewhere in the 20s above zero. Ice is very, very slippery at those temperatures, such that it is sheer madness to contemplate moving from in front of your television and fireplace, until the road crews (and your fellow citizens who have succumbed to madness) have found at least patches of pavement underneath the ice sheet.

In the last installment of the Road to the Summit, I said that Snookums and I had agreed to go up to Joplin, and then see how things were. This was based on a window in the forecast in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon when freezing rain was not forecast. That window wasn't there when I checked again this morning.

So, damn.

Ordinarily, we would have gone on to Tulsa, and maybe spent an extra day or two in town, but coming back late to Kansas City was simply not an option.

So, sadly, I decided we had to forego the Oral Roberts visit for this year, and return with our un-ice-covered rabbit tails between our legs to Kansas City.

Now, the more excitable of the Kansas City TV weatherpeople are using those two dreaded words:

Ice Storm.

It's almost never as bad as they say it will be. Almost never. But there's always that chance. So, as far as making the trip to Oral Roberts and Tulsa, it's "wait 'til next year."

I hope and expect that there will be plenty of other Jackrabbits making the trip in 2008-09. While it's fun cheering with less than a dozen fellow Jackrabbits like we did in Shreveport, it's much more fun when there are a couple hundred. And, I understand Tulsa's not a bad town at all.

On that hopeful note, Road to the Summit goes on hiatus until the next league game: Thursday, January 3, when the Jacks host Oakland.