I’m currently living in Broadview Heights, in the southern part of the Cleveland metro area, approximately midway between Cleveland and Akron. For the first several months after I arrived in Cleveland, I lived first in a suite in Candlewood Suites in North Olmstead, then in Westlake. There is a cluster of cities on the west side: North Olmstead, Brook Park (where I work), Lakewood, Avon, Avon Lake, Westlake, Rocky River, Bay Village (where there’s a great Metropark beach–Huntington). These are all nice areas, like most of the places in Cleveland, each with its own demographics and other characteristics. One thing they share in common, bordering on or not too far from Lake Erie, is that they are not in the snow belt (but it does snow!). The east side gets the most snow, being in the primary snow belt, while the west side gets the reverse of lake effect snow: less snow. This is a much recognized truism. Now, when I moved here last March, the first week I was here it snowed for two days (i.e., 48 hours) nonstop, and indeed it was deep on the west side. (Oddly enough, my car, sheltered behind a three-story hotel, did not need to be dug out, because of the way the wind was blowing when it snowed so long.) But it was deeper on the east side. Temperatures vary too. Although there are hills, the land is relatively flat on the west side.
Between where I am now leasing a house and where I work, there is a fifteen-mile route, but there are so many traffic lights and rough roads that I seldom take it. (I have an alternate long route through the Metropark, which is much more agreeable although slow). So I take a route to and from work that is mostly highway, 237 to I480 to I77, which clocks in at 22 miles: half an hour each way on a day when the traffic cooperates. Road construction is often a factor; these are big city highways, thankfully.
A colleague of mine who lives on the southeast side of the metro area in Twinsburg told me before I moved here that in the winter he goes through several weather patterns on his daily commute. I’ve discovered I go through at least three, probably four. Although it’s only 29 October, winter is showing its face (indian summer days expected tout de meme). As I drive to where I’m living, the flat land turns to rolling hills, some quite high. I’m living in the secondary snow belt, a fact a number of people have pointed out to me. This morning, it was eight degrees Fahrenheit cooler in Broadview Heights than in the city of Cleveland. There was snow on the ground, the first time this winter-approaching season. It is pretty, in a magical way. As I drove to work, first I encountered spitting snow, then a little hard sleet, but on the Interstate quickly passed to where there was no snow on the ground, with a light rain. As I took an exit into Brook Park heading to my place of employment, I noticed the clouds in the sky, in the direction of the lake, were much different than those where I live. In Broadview Heights I looked up and saw a gray, homogenous sky. In Brook Park, the sky showed white and black billowy clouds, with high contrast: rain, not snow clouds. Getting out of my car it felt noticeably warmer than it was from whence I had come. What can be said about passing through different weather patterns on a short drive? It’s not boring but is beautiful in its own way.