Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stack the firewood now...

You may have heard of Accuweather. This is a weather forecasting firm that sells its services to both media clients and businesses. They're quite good at what they do. Thus, I was interested in what they predicted about the upcoming winter weather in Texas.

Better get the firewood ready. On their prediction map, right there across the state of Texas, they write "Snow and Ice". Accuweather's lead meteorologist, the uncomfortably-named Joe Bastardi, says the climatological factors are almost identical to 1963. Well, I happen to remember the winter of '63 - '64.. I was a mere high-schooler then and I got up at 3:10 every morning to deliver The Dallas Morning News to 120 customers. There were (I looked this up) 63 mornings that winter with freezing or below lows. Many of the lows were in the teens.

But what I really remember was the frequency of ice and snow. Lots of it. In fact, mid-January brought a snowstorm the likes of which we rarely get in the DFW area anymore. A large swath of north Texas received 8-12" of snow, effectively shutting down the area completely. Unlike our neighbors in the northern U.S., we don't have a fleet of snowplows ready to respond to calamaties like this. All our cities do is half-heartedly spread some sand on bridges and overpasses and watch the fun begin. Film crews position themselves in advantageous places and simply wait for the inevitable spin-outs and jack-knifed trucks.

There is nothing that I have mixed feelings about more than ice and snow. I love snow days because you get a free day or two at home with nothing to do and no place to go...totally unexpectedly. On the flip side, those of us in the education business have to make up any days we miss, and those makeup days are generally beautiful, tranquil spring days that would have been perfect off days. Also, sometimes school isn't cancelled when it should be, and driving a bus on ice is problematic to say the least. And, I live 25 miles from the bus lot, with much of that route consisting of bridges that ice up quickly when the temp hits 32.

So, we'll see if Accuweather is accurate. It would be nice for my grandkids to experience building a snowman sometime in their youth.

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