I grew up in north Indiana: lake-effect snow amounts. Our school buses had strobe lights on top of them as a precaution in case they got stuck in snowbanks. Schools didn't close all the time for snowstorms.
In northern Virginia, I will grant you, this past week has reached lake-effect amounts of snow of over thirty inches as you have either read about or experienced yourself. And whoever Monica Hesse is, she, too, discovered the truth about persons without driving experience driving in ice and snow.