Friday, February 04, 2011

The Joke's on Us, Again

The day is here. The day children hoped they would see snow. Gotcha! Didn't happen! Call me a cynic, but I knew it wouldn't. I really did hope I would get to see what my dogs would do in a couple of inches of snow. But Mother Nature was just kidding. All week we listened to warnings of impending significant amounts of snow. Snow was the lead topic of all the local new outlets. Plans were made for the roads and schools and even some business owners. Schools dismissed early Thursday as the weather pattern trudged along looking more and more like we would be in the middle of a blizzard. How big a snowman will we be able to make?

Yesterday all the weather experts were in line saying things would start getting bad around noon. There would be significant accumulations of snow and so on. Then when noon came and nothing really changed, I began to see a hedging of bets. It will come later they said. We still expect a good bit of snow. As the evening goes they said. Then around midnight it would come. That's when I began to think that maybe... no I will still see snow. It would just be later they said, after midnight. We would have to adjust to thinking about snowfall after midnight and waking up to snow in the morning. Ok, I can live with that.

So I wake up Friday morning - no snow, just ice. I knew it would not happen. The weather people dangled that carrot in front of us again and we fell for it. Again. Without snow there was nothing to do. No snowmen to make, no snowballs to throw. Ah, but there was ICE. Ice on the grass, the trees, cars, roads. All of the schools were already closed having dismissed early Thursday afternoon. Ice all over bridges and highway over-passes forced closures of some highways and roads. Authorities begged people not to try to drive in the icy conditions. Did drivers listen? No. Hundreds of accidents happened. A large truck got stuck on a high bridge and could not safely move. So for hours it sat waiting. In another accident, rescuers could not get to the victims by ambulance so they gingerly walked their equipment to them for treatment. It was not the "fun" morning we had hoped for by any means.

Local news was all about ice. Reporters were everywhere covering the story. I don't know how many different reporters were sent to report on the stranded truck story. One reporter had an accident on route to her story which was IN a building. But the story continued to get coverage, if for no other reason than to discourage drivers from attempting to drive. If you don't have to go out, don't go out was the mantra. The news droned on and on, taking over just about all morning programing. I, bored with the repetition, quit watching the news.

Now, it is afternoon and the sun is out. Temperatures are still low and there may still be some ice, but soon it will all be gone. That is until the next time Mother Nature decides to tease us. I said I would believe it when I saw it. I still haven't seen it so I still don't believe. The joke is on us, again. We now return you to regular programing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Houston, I'll Believe It When I See It.

The big news topic these days is the weather. Snow and ice are all over the country. I understand that thirty-seven states have some form of snow or ice. Even Hawaii had snow, but Alaska didn't. Many of my friends live in areas where the snow has piled up and it is difficult to get around. They are all tired of the freezing temperatures and the mountains of snow. Havoc abounds. We here raid the stores when we are waiting for a hurricane. In some parts of the country people are raiding stores for food during free time between shoveling snow.

This is one reason why I live in the South. Most of the places in the South where I have lived rarely got snow. If it snowed it wasn't much and didn't last long. As a child I remember one time snow fell where we lived in the small town of Brewton, Alabama. I was in grammar school when it snowed. My dog didn't like it. It snowed when I was in high school in North Augusta, South Carolina. It made for a nice picture. I moved, years ago, to Austin, Texas. It rarely snows in Austin, my uncle told me. That year it snowed three times.

In Houston where I now live, it rarely snows. Occasionally snow flurries will float around for a day or so. This is when everybody goes nuts. Nobody knows what to do. So far all the weather people are reporting that we have anywhere from a 20- 60% chance of snow starting maybe Thursday night or sometime Friday. Trucks have already been out spraying some bridges and roadways while others are on standby in the event of a lot of ice. Ice is more likely here, but who knows? People in Houston really get excited when snow is mentioned, but they also get nervous. I can just hear the children now, praying for snow. On the other hand people here don't know what to do. They all run outside to take pictures and send them to the local tv stations or put on their Facebook pages.

I know that there are a lot of kids hoping for a "snow day" school closure. At this very moment the DFW airport in Dallas is closed. That brings an interesting problem for people arriving for the Super Bowl football game. The teams have both already arrived but a lot of fans have not. I wonder what they will do if the Dallas area still has a lot of snow on Sunday? Will the airport be able to open soon? I think it is funny that the game will be played in what is supposed to be a fairly "warm" area. We didn't have these problems when Houston hosted the Super Bowl. Janet Jackson had a problem, but we didn't.

I guess I will just wait and see what happens here. Part of me is excited about the possibility of snow, especially if it were to be of a significant amount. We don't usually get much in the way of snow here. I've gone outside to watch a few flakes fly furiously for a fleeting time. I know that is some parts of our area there has been enough snow to make tiny snowmen. But, we shall see as time goes on and the day gets near. Weather people have been wrong before, but they are all saying we will have some snow. Of course the media can't make up their minds. Our chances of snow are anywhere from 20 to 60% depending on who is reporting at the moment. I will believe it when I see snow on the ground.