a change in the forecast

Although I try to point out the beauties of a snow-less winter landscape, I can still appreciate the white stuff sometimes.  And F. misses snow pretty badly.  The delight on his face during our honeymoon, when he got to play in the snow in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was worth a lot to me.

Which is why we’ll be watching the skies keenly this evening, to see if a few white flakes come spiraling down… or maybe more than a few.

All week long, our forecast here was for possible snow flurries on Friday.  Yesterday, the meteorologists changed it to a 60% likelihood of snowfall mixed with rain beginning in the evening.  And when I just checked in a moment ago, that’s now become an 80% chance of snow after dark.

I’ve been checking in regularly because my family in Georgia was alerting me to the fact that their forecast was for major winter weather.  In fact, they’re under a “winter weather advisory” even as we speak.  (Do they advise people in Maine or Massachusetts with such a warning every time it might snow?  I doubt it, and I wonder exactly how far south you have to go before winter weather sounds worrisome to the officials.)

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in the same county as my childhood home, is reporting light snow at this moment.  How exciting!  And how scary.  I’m praying my parents and cousins and my brother-in-law, who all work in or near the city, get home pronto and stay there.

And Lynn (one of the wonderful people I’ve come to know through reading her blog), if you’re reading this, the same goes for you.  I’m thinking of you and hoping you don’t take any chances.  The roads aren’t safe down south when the snow comes.

I’ve had several Canadians ask me why this should be so, and I just have to ask you to picture a place that gets winter weather so rarely that it’s not worth the money to invest in snowplows and enough trucks to salt all the roads.  Also, the populace has almost no experience driving in snow — and is afraid of the stuff in consequence.  I nearly cried with fright the first time I had to drive in snow in Montreal, and that’s not an ideal emotional state to be in when driving.  Plus, we don’t have snow tires, or chains, or experience navigating icy patches.

Add to that the fact that our “snow” more often than not is sleet, or ice, or a mix of the two.  It’s rarely that powdery, fluffy stuff I saw so much of up north.  It’s slick, and if the sun melts it just a bit during the day, it’s liable to turn into a sheet of pure ice on the asphalt at nightfall.

People get stuck.  My mother was stranded in Decatur for several days during a freak snowstorm in the 1980s, and had to abandon her car on the side of the road after the courts finally decided to release their staff early in the afternoon, for fear no one would make it home.  Many of them didn’t.  Luckily, Mom had friends to take her in, and she was able to walk to their house and beg shelter, and it actually ended up being something like a grown-up slumber party, with work suspended to boot.

What I remember most about that time was the eerie empty feeling of not being able to get in touch with her when the phone lines went down.  What Mom remembers most fondly is the first phone call once service was re-established, wherein my sister and I complained bitterly about having to eat too many hotdogs and tater tots and cans of tomato soup.  (This was before my father decided cooking was a skill worth learning, obviously.  He’s quite good nowadays.)

So far, not a flake here in Seneca.  But the wind is up, the sky is ominous, and the hummingbird feeder is frozen solid.  Exciting; isn’t it?  And scary, too.

Everybody please cross your fingers for safety for all concerned and maybe just a wee bit of snow for F.

11:00 p.m. update:  The “snow “turned out to be a bit of sleet mixed with rain and then zip, zilch, nada.  I don’t think we got below freezing yet, and the rain has stopped now for good.  Thanks for all your kind wishes.  It appears that all my family and friends are safe and sound.

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9 Responses to “a change in the forecast”

  1. Hi Meredith, I loved reading this story. According to our radar, Atlanta is getting snow, as have we in southeast TN. Not the blizzard measurable kind, but enough to make roads slick and dangerous. Many schools closed just on the forecast today, before the snow even began. Probably a good thing. Hope my hubby gets home from work safely. Same for your loved ones.
    Frances

    • I hope your husband got home safely, too. It looks like we’re out of the woods here (altho we live in the woods, so that doesn’t make any sense!) and will have no snow. I don’t know whether to put a smiley face or a sad one at the end of that sentence. Hmm…

  2. Thanks for the shout-out Meredith! I am safely home and making soup in a bit. I was in Madison, GA for a meeting this afternoon so was able to come in from a less precarious side of town than my usual NW Atlanta.

    A few flakes fell and stopped. But it is supposed to drop a lot of snow later on tonight and going down to 17 degrees. No – we can’t drive on it. It is best to stay home and ride it out.

    • Oh, my pleasure. I don’t know if you’ve realized, but this blog doesn’t support a blog roll like the other one. The format is a little limiting.

      Glad you got home safe!

  3. I hope you get a light dusting that lasts long enough for F. to enjoy, but not long enough to cause any travel problems. And (being Canadian) I can tesitfy that no matter how often you have driven in snow, it’s still tricky stuff to deal with as is evidenced by the crazy amount of fender-benders encountered here any time the white stuff puts up an appearance.

    Please be safe!

  4. Wonderful story. I was in Tuscon a hundred years ago during a freak snow. The police thought I was nuts for wanting to go over a bridge they closed. Well the rental car did have Florida plates. It’s been snowing for 4 days now here in Cleveland, with more coming. I can put some in a box for you and ship it. Hope you stay well.

    jim

    • Aw, thanks, Jim. I wouldn’t think Tucson would have any experience with the white stuff. That must have been amusing. Enjoy all you have in Cleveland! (But no shipping, please. Can you imagine the postman’s bemusement at delivering a sopping wet box to our door? ;))

  5. oh you don’t have to go too far south to get “adviseries”. People here in Chicago act like they’ve never seen snow before.

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