Winter storm warning… watch… warning… watch… oh, nothing


Tuesday. 11am.

We’re ten hours into the current winter storm warning. So far, not even a dusting has been spotted. Weather trackers have shifted the focus of the storm to the east.

Twenty-four hours ago, there was a fair consensus from multiple sources placing expectations around ten to twelve inches of new snow accumulation. Twelve hours ago, adjustments placed our yard in the dark blue coverage area of four to six inches. Four hours ago, morning show updates slid the dark blue over and placed us squarely on the line dividing four to six inches from one to four inches.

Tuesday. Noon.

Eleven hours into the warning. No snow has fallen.

The cars have gas. Snowblower is ready to go. I’ve been to the store, not to give in to the chaotic storm warning rush for emergency essentials, but rather just to bring home a few things so I don’t need to go out tomorrow or Thursday for anything if I don’t want to go out. The vehicles in the driveway were positioned for the best cleanup approach hours ago.

The snow can fall. I’m ready.

New alert on the phone says snow will start at 12:38.

I live in a place where, under clear skies and with no forecast of precipitation of any type, you could fall asleep and then wake up to find five or six inches of snow blanketing your yard, driveway and cars.

I live in a place where, with absolutely nothing falling at all, the wind will sweep and carry snow and create drifts a foot high where bare ground had been.

I live in a place where lake effect snow has been known to arrive with five to six feet of snow for a ten to twenty mile zone, with traces to nothing around that zone in an all or nothing pounding.

So please, understand, I am not poking the bear with a stick. I am not standing outside, shovel in one hand, other arm raised to the sky with a clinched fist except for a lone extended finger challenging the winter weather gods to show me who might really be number one. The snow is coming. The wind is coming. The brutal, unforgiving, even wearing hats and scarves and zipped jackets with bundled hoods my face hurts just stepping outside cold is coming.

But today, the winter storm warning has not delivered. I’d like to say that’s a surprise.

It’s not.

We’ve called this house our home for a few years now. And, I’d say the totals of unexpected storms and the washout of predicted snowpocalypses are running about even. It sure seems like there are times when we aren’t expecting any troubles at all only to find plenty of work that needs to be done. It sure seems like there are times when we’ve been told to prepare for sleet and hail and wizards and demons ripping apart our home as snow buries the roof under twenty-seven or more feet of heavy snow only to look out the windows at a view of dirt and grass.

Storms arrive. Storms don’t arrive. The best preparation is always for the worst with a nod toward the unexpected.

There are stages to the process, of course. Basically, when a storm watch is announced, it means we might see something. Few of us really pay any attention to these. It’s the storm warning announcements that earn more than passing glances. That’s the point when weather apps are checked and broadcast times for local news are considered. That’s the point where supposedly the needle has moved from might happen to will happen.

And thank goodness for the weather forecasts. The reality is, while we all want exact predictions for impossible to exactly predict situations, the reality is simple… they are incredible at gathering and using information to recognize what is happening… we are far, far better off understanding what they are able to tell us than we ever would be with no information.

Tuesday. 1pm.

Flakes in the air. No dusting yet. Just fluffy white flurries scurrying about and hazing the view of the yard.

The storm is still there. The storm could still arrive. The winter storm warning is only halfway to completion. But there is nothing to clean. For now, I wait.


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