Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow Day

Snow Day, 2010

We don’t get a lot of snow where I live. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the warming Gulf Stream to the east, the Chesapeake Bay to the north and Back Bay to the south, we get a lot of rain while people just twenty-five or thirty miles inland get piles of snow.

It’s been seven or eight years since we had snow that fell for more than a few minutes or that accumulated as much as an inch. About a month ago the weather service promised a snow “storm of the Century.” The media went crazy with the story. But we woke up and found a sunny and clear day instead. Needless to say, we consider the local media about as credible as the boy who cried wolf.

Last week, the National Weather Service started warning us about a winter storm working its way toward us. They predicted a weekend with everything from the traditional “freezing mix,” our local version of falling slush, to a full out blizzard. It was to have started Friday evening and move off to sea by Saturday evening.

Around here, it doesn’t take much for people to panic about weather. Lines form at fuel pumps. Milk, eggs, bread and bottled water disappear from grocers’ shelves. Drivers either slow down to about 8 mph or, if they have SUVs, speed up to about 70. (And that’s even before the storm arrives.)

Living in a wooded area where falling limbs frequently disrupt the electricity, my wife and I take a few simple precautions. I check the boat. We do a quick survey of the trees to see if there’s anything we need to trim. (Admittedly, a fool’s pursuit since many of these trees are 100’ or taller.) We charge up all the devices that need charging. We check the pantry for provisions that can be cooked over a gas grill or fireplace. And then we go to bed and forget about it.

This past Friday night we went out to dinner with friends. The restaurant was full of people anxious to have a little away time before what might be a couple of days of intense together time. When we came out of the restaurant around 10:00 p.m., the sky was cloudy, but there was no snow.

We awoke Saturday morning to a winter wonderland. Five to six inches of snow covered everything by sunrise. It was as silent outdoors as it ever gets around here. There were no sounds from the big military airbase nearby, or from either of the busy boulevards between it and us. There were just birds singing. The marsh behind our house was frozen.

It continued to snow until mid-afternoon. Just before dinner the local news announced that the storm had passed. And then it snowed a few inches more. So much for their “triple” Doppler weather radar.

Other than our little dog, who was confused about where to pee because all her favorite ivy spots were covered, we suffered no serious inconvenience.


  1. Welcome to my world! It is beautiful, isn't it? I have gotten more and more into snowy winters as I get older. It's either because of memories of childhood in Colorado, or a marked aversion to long stretches of only brown and gray around me.
    As for the dogs, one of the first things I have to do after a storm is shovel a path and pee places for them.

  2. ...Well Chris, you had snow and we in Rio are having the worst heat wave ever. Every single day, no rain, temps 100 F and above,an open oven.
    Come April, that's what I'm waiting for...

    rogerio ( flickr's cariocando)

  3. Hahaaa! Wow--LOVE these photos! You took good advantage of the snow and got wonderful shots. I really like that trellis-thingie (what are they called--obelisks? Joe calls ours the "oil rig.") anyway, beautiful! I can just picture Scout in your tale here. Hilarious. Enjoy your snow days!

  4. ps
    We see exactly the same here when it comes to grocery stores and the local media all in a tither over the snow predictions. I've learned that if they say it's coming, NOT from the west, but from the south, up to us, we ARE likely to get pummeled, but otherwise, it's usually a wash. This time, when I heard it was coming up to us, I knew to go out and get provisions.