Following the rapidly changing weather forecast for the weekend as it evolved over the past seven days has spurred many emotions where I live. For a while, we watched our snowfall predictions rise for Saturday and then Sunday, prompting us to reconsider scheduling a gathering at our house. Let’s wait, my wife counseled, suggesting the next weekend could be even worse. And then the anticipated depths we viewed kept declining until, suddenly, there was no precipitation of any kind on tap for the weekend. What a relief, we thought.
But then we saw where that snow would be headed. It’s a strange feeling for New Englanders to see a blizzard steering south of us. Sparing most of us, in fact. We know what it’s like to be hammered and then buried. But we’re equipped to dig out, too, and accept it as part of the price of living where we do. We even know what it can do to a crowded city, where there are few places to dump the mounds as they accumulate. Driving along a street, you’d keep asking, Is that just a big pile of snow or is there a car under there?
It doesn’t take much snow to lock up a city, in fact. No matter how prepared a metropolis, six inches can really muck things up. And a foot can take days to clear free. But two? Now it’s getting serious.
We also know that even an inch of wet snow can make for some very hazardous driving. Forget what those four-wheel-drive advertisements say. We’ve seen enough of those vehicles spin off the road into the median strip or guardrail. There are acquired tricks to driving under these conditions, along with cautions. I think of it more along the lines of boating.
So when we see expectations of up to two feet of cold wet flakes blowing across Virginia and Maryland and even a corner of North Carolina(!) — and similar impacts on the District of Columbia and Baltimore — our sympathies fly southward. That’s even before Philadelphia and New York City are hit.
You probably don’t have neighbors with snowplows on their pickups, for one thing. You might not even have your own snow shovels at hand, much less snowblowers. As for those boots and gloves? We understand.
I can’t help but recall the broader term for “global warming” was “climatic instability,” which is what we’re seeing. Remember that if you hear the word “record” being applied to this storm. And no, I won’t refer to it by the cable channel’s name.
If you’re bearing the brunt of this storm, you have our sympathy. We know you’ll have your own names for the experience, few of which are publishable in polite circles. Our best advice is to stay put and take things easy as long as you can and hope you stay warm. Declare yourselves a snow day. And remember, this too shall pass.