Most snowstorms are like lumbering elephants. It's hard for one to catch you unawares.
There's really no such thing as a sudden, unexpected big heaping of snow. You don't get caught in a snow shower, like you can with rain. The skies don't open one afternoon and before you blink, there's two inches of fluff on the ground.
No, snowstorms announce their presence ahead of time, like a courteous guest alerting you that he's planning on stopping by in a couple of days. And he'll be knocking, whether you're home or not.
Which is a good thing, I suppose. The advanced warning signs give the Chicken Little weather people plenty of opportunities to run screaming down the streets and yelling into the radio microphones, telling us to take cover and to buy provisions---not necessarily in that order.
The impending, Great Snowstorm of 2011 is apparently on its way, having announced its intentions as early as Saturday night.
I'm not sure how it works. Maybe the chief meteorologist at the National Weather Center gets a text from the storm.
"C u Tuesday LOL"
Or something like that.
Regardless, someone is the first to know about it, and in this day and age of Internet and mobile phones with Internet access, it doesn't take much to spread the word. One tweet on Twitter usually does the trick.
The stores around town (I live in metro Detroit) have been swamped over the past couple of days with people smartly buying all sorts of stuff they feel they'll need in order to survive the blizzard. Snowstorms are good for the economy, too!
The kids, of course, are about to burst out of their skin. Snow days are glorious things to those from K-12. We all know the giddiness when your school's district's name appears on the crawl at the bottom of the TV screen in the morning.
But technology has made its mark there, too. We subscribe to a texting service through the WDIV-TV (channel 4) website, so as soon as the decision is made to close Warren Consolidated Schools, my phone gets pinged. Sometimes that ping comes at 10:00 the night before; sometimes, at 4:00 a.m.
The great New York City blizzard of 1888
If you have all that you need, you keep your power on, and have nowhere to go, a blizzard can be a nice, cozy thing. Even the chore of removing the snow isn't all bad, if you go slow and pace yourself.
It's nice that snowstorms traipse across the country with the speed of a turtle. And it's nice that they're courteous, to boot.
Give us plenty of time to get ready and/or worry, take bets on the number of inches that will fall, and fantasize about a day off from work and/or school.
Brace yourself. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
Or so we're told.