“Snow and Blizzards.” I watched as the weatherman announced to everyone within his range of influence. A screen came down showing a dark blue mass dropping down over our state from the icy cold regions of upper Canada. Numbers began appearing as the temperatures dropped in front of the falling ridge of snowfall. Then suddenly they were gone as smaller numbers appeared all over the state. I hoped that they weren’t temperatures as they were single digits in most cases, doubled only where the darkest blue of the snow clouds were going to descend.
I realized quickly that these were snowfall amounts, the deepest of it hitting a path that lead directly towards my home town. I shivered in anticipation at the cold liquid melting on the back of my collar and dripping down my neck. It always happened that way.
Deciding to switch channels, knowing that these ‘predictions’ were seldom the same between channels, I wanted to find another opinion. I was hoping for a less severe snowfall of course, knowing that the bigger storms are usually forecast correctly by most television stations.
Another local station had the same basic itinerary for the storm, dropping from the north, dumping roughly the same amounts of snow in approximately the same places on the underlying map of the state. But this one was more pleasant and almost less threatening to me.
Instead of the heavy, dark and foreboding blue, this meteorologist used a pleasant pink that only threatened to turn red in the darkest prediction of snow. Even the pink areas tapered off into surrounding streaks of white where the snow would all but miss the inhabitants below the clouds. It almost made the coming weather pleasant and somehow enjoyable. I didn’t think of snow falling down my neck, but rather of building a snowman or a snowwoman on the front lawn.
Teasing myself, I had noticed that the major force of the snow had shifted westward with the changing of a channel, so I decided to go further and check another news station. Attempting to confirm my belief that newsmen, even if it was just the weather, tended to exaggerate local levels just because it was better news and might garner more watchers, I switched to yet another channel.
This station, being further west of my location, gave me even better news. The storm had shifted even further west, giving the particular locale of this station an even better chance to experience snowfall. I also gave them a better shot at shoveling, blowing, and driving in it, but it still gave everyone a little bit of a thrill to know that they had been singled out for some action.
I decided to go even further west, to see just how far they might pull the clouds in their direction. It didn’t go much further, after all, the radar scopes could only alter it to the limitation of their power, and manipulate what they read with the various computer enhanced programs.
Having fulfilled my effort to establish the prejudice of news people to warp something as simple and benevolent as a snow storm, I decided to get the same picture on a larger scale. I hit the national weather radar. I waited a little longer for the map of the country to fill in, then waited longer for a dictation of what the weather was doing over it.
Soon I was looking at sweeping lines, some with triangle-shaped wedges glued to the side of them, sometimes rounded half-circles. There were thin lines and thick, some were close to those around it and some were widely spaced apart.
The screen changed to colors and there was everything from browns to whites, to reds and blues, all on the same screen, at the same time. The one thing missing was a huge blob of weather over the top of my state. It had been reduced to a single streak of color that was barely visible at the scale of the country under it. There was however a large drop of blue at the lower part of the state, and a streak of green threatening several states of the south. I assumed it was raining down there.
It was apparent that our storm wasn’t very significant in comparison to the rainfall in the south. I thought that perhaps it was the population being affected down there, or perhaps the usual effect of having the station that promoted the weather coming out of a large city where populations were more important than the intensity of any particular storm.
My boredom was reaching levels above my concern for the overall weather, and I stood up to go to find something else to do. As I stood I dialed in the local station once again and walked to the window. I pushed the curtains aside as I usually did.
Rain was obliterating my view as it made its own droplets on the glass and ran down in rivulets. I heard the approaching storm being described as the worse of the season behind me and turned to view it once again on this station. The blue mass was descending upon us once more.
Turning back to the window, I was just about to let the curtain fall back into place when I noticed the size of the flakes beating themselves against the glass. They caused a streak of snow as they were dragged sideways by the wind. Beyond those obliterating the glass, there wasn’t much to see either. Clouds of heavy white snow kept me from seeing ten feet out from the window. It looked like the blue tinted television station was correct in their prediction of the storm.
Repeating my previous pattern, I turned to a more westerly station and watch the pink and red blob drop from Canada. Once more I glanced at the window and was surprised that the snow had let up significantly. It wasn’t rain, but it wasn’t the smothering amount of only a moment before.
Two more attempts left the snow diminishing with each step until click of a new station. I stopped myself before returning to the rainfall. I didn’t want to cause a mass of dangerous ice under or over the snow and left the station on that had the least snowfall on it instead.
I went outside to brush away the snow with a broom before it got very thick and I had to drag the shovel out.
The End, or the beginning of the storm.