Year after year I continue to marvel at the ability of snow events to reduce grown adults into excitable toddlers.

The news media drives itself into apoplexy, urbanites steal glances out of their windows into the blackened morning in the hope they can play their 'stranded' card to frustrated bosses, while others frantically search their devices and radios for updated cancellations.

The only ones who don't act like children are the children themselves; they greet the words, "school's off" with the contentment of the Cheshire cat.

Farmers, of course, realise its called winter- and when you farm in a country near the foot of the globe it can, and often does, snow in winter.

But that doesn't stop media outlets hurriedly despatching reporters to areas close to ski fields, lest they fail to capture a few flakes of ice and some white footpaths. When snow fell in Auckland back in August 2011 - that was a news story.


As Phil Duncan from Weather Watch pointed out on The Country earlier this week, a dumping of snow across certain parts of New Zealand in mid-July shouldn't warrant sensational headlines warning of impending doom and apocalypse.

While those in the rural hinterland are well practiced and prepared for all kinds of weather scenarios, those in the city can struggle a bit. A place like Dunedin, for example, where we broadcast from, effectively grinds to a halt on a snow day.

The inhabitants haven't really looked to other cities around the world to see how they cope with endless days of snowfall; a bit of a dusting on the hills down here and that's us indoors - trapped in 2-3cm of melting slush.

One thing it does do though is force those of us who are impatient on the roads to actually drive like Dunedinites; that is slow, ponderous and generally inept. Motorists like me are annoyingly obliged to crawl along at 15-20kph and keep a reasonable distance from the car in front instead of tailgating to the point of outright intimidation.

There's also a lot of old people in Dunedin which means poor driving habits are all too common. It's my considered opinion old people should be re-tested on a weekly basis to see if they can still hack it on today's roads - I'd wager most of them would fail hopelessly, we'd all be a lot safer and could move around the city a lot quicker!

The other glorious thing about an impending snow day is the 'panic-buying' that takes place. Twitchy shoppers clamour to buy the last dozen loaves of white bread and four bottles of milk left in the depleted local Pak 'n Save.

Not since the last long weekend have supermarkets been so plundered by consumers fearful of not having enough provisions on hand to see out the next 24 hours.

And while the slushy puddles at the end of the driveway act like a clarion call to "work from home" for most, generally speaking when I leave for work in the early hours the snow hasn't fallen and by the time I get home it's all melted.

Bring on summer.