Yesterday afternoon, a Weather Channel alert about heavy snowfall popped into my email box, forecasting accumulation of three to five inches. Later reports, both from The Weather Channel and our local meteorologists, made it sound like the snow would begin falling mid-afternoon, and would continue without ceasing for most of the night. I am always up for a good snowstorm, so my reaction to this was more anticipation than dread or worry.
Hence my disappointment. My pod is on the 10th floor of the William Green Building, and my window faces west, which means I usually have a front-row seat at any incoming storms. Yes, there was a time or two when I would look up from the computer monitor and it would be white enough outside that I could not see the main post office or ODOT (the Ohio Department of Transportation) off in the distance. Most of the time, when it did snow, it was light.
I came home from the Columbus State bookstore tonight (Saturday will be my last day there, at least until spring quarter starts at the end of March), and Steph was watching a DVR recording of today’s Young and the Restless. At the bottom of the screen were dozens of cancellation notices. Many school systems (not Columbus) were dismissing kids early, and churches were cancelling evening services and programs, night school classes weren’t meeting. All this for what can’t even rightly be called a dusting. The temperature never got above the low 20s today, and I didn’t enjoy the walk on E. 5th Ave. from the Cleveland Ave. bus stop, but this is hardly Storm of the Century.
Even with enough advanced warning, it seems many people downplay the inconvenience of a good snowfall. I remember the first New England snowstorm I experienced, while I was living in Boston. I woke up very early on Saturday morning so I could head to Cambridge and typeset The Harbus News, the weekly newspaper of the Harvard Business School. I had been vaguely aware that snow was falling when I went to bed the night before, but I gasped when I stepped outside and saw there was whiteness as far as the eye can see. At the time I lived on Commonwealth Ave., just up from the Boston University campus.
The surface lines of the T (Boston’s subway system, short for MBTA–Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) were not running, and I stood there with my jaw dropping open when I saw how careless drivers were being. Since I’m almost always up for a decent walk, I trudged east toward Kenmore Square, where I could catch the subway. (That night, after The Harbus was finished, I sat in The Crimson‘s deserted newsroom and typed a letter to my dad. I remember writing, “It was crazy this morning! I must have seen a dozen accidents on my way in to work. You’d think New Englanders would know how to drive in the snow!”)
Hearing the forecasts made me think of a paperback I read in the 1980s. It was a novel by George Stone called Blizzard, and it was about meteorological warfare. The tag line was “What if it doesn’t stop?” A weather-controlling weapon gets loose and a huge snowstorm buries most of the eastern U.S., including New York and Washington, D.C. The book itself wasn’t all that wonderful, but what was fascinating was how each chapter started with the current time, temperature, snowfall, and forecast. The first chapters, the weather statistics are relatively benign. America is hoping for a white Christmas, and it looks like they may get it. The later chapters talk about snowfall of four to eight feet with drifts to 10 stories, and each forecast is the same: “Snow ending tonight. Clear and cold tomorrow.”
Before Susie got up this morning, I crawled to the laptop and pulled up Channel 10’s Website to see if school was cancelled. There were cancellations, but they were mostly in Washington County and Athens County, so Susie headed off to catch the school bus while I got back in bed for another hour of sleep. There was no wind rattling my windows, and there was some additional snow on the ground, but the wetness and the slush from earlier this week was gone.