Ooh, NICE segue, blatham!
Bandylu referred to this too, but you make me think of the communal aspects of a major snowfall -- there's no "natural disaster" so benign and, well, FUN. When I was a kid I'd grab a shovel and walk around the neighborhood with my dad, digging out people who were stuck, clearing walks of the elderly folks, etc. I love the snowstorms that are totally paralyzing, especially if you have a well-stocked grocery store within walking distance -- everyone given an excuse to forget work and school and just play. It's about as European as we Americans get, (and I think Canadians are like this too), in terms of the whole work ethic. We need to be FORCED into leisure.