For the second time this week, we have Impending Winter Weather of Doom in the KC area.

The first time was yesterday, which was a total bust. We were supposed to get ice. In preparation, Tony and I went out and got the makings of chicken stew – we had everything set up so that we wouldn’t have to leave the house at all yesterday. We did not, in fact, leave the house at all.

Neither, however, was there any ice. I maintain we probably saved the area the ice storm through sheer preparedness.

Tonight, we’re under another Winter Storm Watch – this time for snow, the predicted amounts of which keep rising every time I see the forecast (which, being Midwestern by location/birth/education etc., is a frequent occurence)(it’s a bad idea to live in the Midwest and not check the forecast at least twice a day). The poll of customers at work today netted me guesses in the 2-8 inch range. I’m guessing it’ll be in the low to middle portion of that range.

Q: Why assume it won’t be a bad storm?

A: Because the customers at work were still referring to it as snow.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed through several years of weather watching/dealing with the general public: if the impending storm isn’t going to be too bad, people talk about the snow. As in “how much snow will we get?” “Has the snow started yet?” “Hey, it started snowing,” and so on.

There’s a certain level at which the weather conversation shifts. When an impending snow storm is going to be *bad*, no one talks about snow. They talk about “it.” As in “is it going to be bad?” “Has it started yet?” “*resigned sigh* It started. I hate it when it gets like this.”

So far as I can tell, it’s like the general sense people have is that the weather is out to get them at some point, and it’s almost like they’re trying to avoid thinking about the oncoming mess by refusing to call it what it is (i.e., snow/sleet/ice/whatever). Moreover, the worse the storm is going to be, the earlier the word use shifts from noun to pronoun.

Anyway, my theory at the moment is that tomorrow evening’s snowstorm won’t be that bad because it’s “snow” in the minds of the populace, which ultimately means we’re looking at 6 inches or less. “It” tends to mean 8+ inches – that sort of point where the snow stops being pretty and starts being an unholy pain in the ass.

I’ll update y’all on Thursday with a report on whether or not I’m snowed in.


ETA as of 1:30pm, Wednesday: it is in fact dumping snow outside. When I went out this morning, the sales clerks were saying variations on a theme of “has it started yet?” – meaning this storm is likely to be worse than my optimistic outlook last night.
Here’s what it looked like about five minutes ago:

I’ll update if it gets interesting.


ETA: as of Thursday when it stopped snowing, my suburb had officially gotten 7.2 inches. I’d say my theory was dead on. [/dork]