Friday, December 4, 2009

There's Snow Place Like Philly in the Wintertime

Tell me that there are other parts of the country where people just lose their minds over the "threat" of snow.

By threat, I mean an accumulation of one inch.

Weathermen (and women) here have been talking about "the first snowstorm of the season" for most of the week now. Tonight there were reports of packed supermarkets. (It is somewhat of a phenomenon here that whenever there is snow in the forcast, you must go get milk, eggs, and bread. The joke is that there will be a lot of French toast being made on such occasions.) But I think the entire region needs a freakin' therapist because there is something truly warped about the collective mentality here in these parts that causes a communal panic at the mention of an unmentionable four letter word beginning with S.

People of my mother and mother-in-law's generation (you know, the ones who had to walk 10 miles to school barefoot in 20 feet of snow) are especially prone to this sort of flaky agita. Both my mother and my mother in law seem to feed off of this.

As an example, I need to travel back up to PA on Sunday to do a speaking engagement at my former church that is literally within minutes of my mother's house. I haven't told her yet that I will be in the neighborhood (because she will be worried sick about me driving on the roads a full day after the snow) but she reads this blog, so now she won't be surprised if I stop by for lunch.

To illustrate what I am talking about, here's the "BREAKING NEWS" headline (is there any other kind?) on tonight.

Snow shovels ready?

An inch or more of snow is likely by Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

"The only question now is how much" will fall in the city and its surrounding counties, said Greg Heavener with the service's Mount Holly office.

First, rain is expected tomorrow, followed by a mix of rain and snow in the afternoon.

"Once the sun goes down, we should be seeing snow for eight, nine hours," he said.

How much will stick is unclear, as temperatures flirt with the freezing mark.

"It might double, be like 2 to 3 inches, by Sunday morning," he said.

Don't start thinking of snowmen, though.

"It might be a little too slushy for that kind of stuff," he said.

As is often the case, areas west and north of the city could see the most snow, the Jersey Shore the least.

Dec. 5 has had significant snow four of the last seven years - 2007, 2005, 2003 and 2002 - but coincidence is likely the best explanation, Heavener said.

As for further worries about flurries, a storm could develop for Tuesday night, but today that one seems likely to bring just rain, he said.

For more on the forecast, go to

Stay tuned. And oh ... enjoy your French toast.


Florinda said...

I lived in Memphis for 10 years, and they reacted to snow the same way - complete insanity. It was kind of fun if you didn't have to go anywhere; and if you had kids, you weren't going anywhere, because the schools would close at the drop of a flake.

But now I live in LA, and they lose their minds here over RAIN.

Susan said...

It's exactly the same way here too, Melissa! It's kinda funny. The radio DJ's have been so excited talking about the snow forcast all day today. Wonder what we'll really get???

Anonymous said...

In recent years, the media has learned that to generate panic over the weather--Storm of the Century? Story at six--is a great way to pass the time. It's a conspiracy. (And why I never pay attention and am occasionally surprised to find myself out in the elements without the proper protection!)

Zee said...

That did amuse me when I lived in Philly. Not as much as the surprise in the voice of the morning presenters about heavy traffic on the I-95 but almost as much.

JoAnn said...

Philadelphians would be in a state of high panic around here. An average winter means just over 120 inches, but watch our for the "lake effect"!

Priya said...

Over here near Seattle, school got closed last year because of the "threat of snow." It never actually snowed.

And we usually have a two-hour delay if there is about a centimeter of snow on the ground, and school closed if there is around an inch or more.

So, yes, there is insanity here as well. :) The thing is, though, the snow plows don't get to the roads very quickly, so it can easily get really slippery around here.

DemMom said...

It's the same in Richmond (the only place in VA, I believe, that didn't get snow this weekend-just rain). People here can't drive in snow, rain, or when the sun is shining (it took me years to figure out what a "glare delay" was). They cancelled all after school activities here a couple of weeks ago, when it rained hard.
But, I have to ask, weren't you the one that refused to drive in any amount of snow a few years ago? I thought you would take time off rather than drive, even in the threat of snow. Maybe I'm mistaken! LOL.

Melissa said...

LOL! I grew up in Georgia, and I used to joke that schools closed if it rained too hard. (which has actually happened with their flooding of late, so I should just shut it)

I've lived in upstate New York for the past eight years, and we don't even start to get antsy until we hear mention of 8+ inches. Or ice. Ice is just plain awful.

Jodie said...

You ahve just described the British people's attitude to snow - 1 or 2 inches makes people buy way too much bread and I think once it took us four hours to get home from about 30 minutes away. But it's ok because our German cars have a good warning advice light 'snow - attach snow chains', of course in Britain the cars come without the chains you need in apparently snow plagued Germany.