By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – Louisiana is expecting snow this week. Say what?
I know people in the north must laugh at us. The inevitable “bread and milk” memes showing empty grocery store shelves come to mind. I went to the grocery store yesterday out of necessity rather than any snow-minded panic, and the cashier lamented how busy they had been all day.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” she said.
“Snow in the forecast for Monday night,” I explained.
She had no idea. “That explains it,” she said.
All the jokes are true. The meteorologists on the local stations broke the news Friday afternoon that models were setting up for a “wintry mix” which would “quickly turn over to snow” and that “accumulations of one to three inches are possible.”
My husband is from Iowa and he just laughs. He is one of those who walked twenty miles up hill both ways in five feet of snow to get to school; he milked cows after walking through veritable blizzards to get to the barn and chipped ice out of frozen water troughs. You know the type.
But around here if you say ice, we close the schools. We can’t drive in that stuff. The rural kids that ride school buses will freeze, not to mention that rural roads and bridges ice over.
This is a true story: one day about three years ago we were in school when it started to snow; it was about 10:30 in the morning, right before lunch. Not big, heavy wet snowflakes but just flurries. They closed the schools parish wide. By the time I got to the interstate five minutes away it was all over.
Overabundance of precaution, they called it.
As soon as the local news said the “S” word Friday, everyone is on pins and needles checking Facebook and the news sites for notice of school closure. Parents are stressing out about whether or not to find babysitters or take of work. The school superintendent says he will make the call sometime Monday afternoon (Monday we are closed for MLK day). This delay in making the call is angering parents as meteorologists speak with increasing confidence of “a winter event” and measurable precipitation.
Snow days are a rare treat for us down here. While the Midwest and northern climes accept shoveling snow and not parking on the street because of snow plows as a part of winter life, we don’t have those issues down here. So when we can get enough snow to scoop up in our hands, or look outside and see a blanket of wet, white snow on the lawn, it is in fact an event. The high humidity here means we have heavy, wet snow, not powdery light stuff.
I can predict with near certainty that by Monday afternoon all of the news stations will have their intrepid reporters out standing by the perfectly dry interstate to report on road conditions. Once the event occurs there will be tiny snowmen on the hoods of cars or the messy, muddy ones that required every bit of snow in the yard to create.
It could be a magical day.
Or it could just be rain. Then we will feel robbed and cheated.
All of that bread and milk stowed away for nothing.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.