A Mildly Disappointing Snowpocalypse

John Scalzi

We were told for the last couple of days that today we could expect anywhere from four to eight inches of snow, and that we should probably all just stay in our houses and hunker down while the stuff blanketed the earth (and roads, and electrical wires, etc). So we did — I mean, I would have anyway, I work here and don’t actually leave the house much when I’m not traveling — and prepared for a hefty winter onslaught.

What we got was anticlimactic: an inch or two, and not even enough to completely cover the lawn. The snow we have is slushy and heavy, and a temperature drop later in the day means that slush will turn to ice and make the roads a menace. So I don’t want to completely discount the weather, or how it will mess with getting around (and possibly the electrical, if the ice weighs down the wires). But there’s a difference between being told you might have to dig yourself out, and whatever this is.

I’ll still take it over a snowpocalypse! I don’t actually like being trapped! But, yeah. Mildly disappointing all the same.

— JS

28 Comments on “A Mildly Disappointing Snowpocalypse”

  1. Disappointed that your chance of doom has dropped from maybe too very slim is interesting

  2. My wife and I moved from Houston, TX, to Belfast, UK, about 2.5 yrs ago. Living in Houston, I wasn’t all that surprised to not have snow (most “winters” were still in the 70s/80s), but now that we’re in Belfast, I’m genuinely surprised that I’ve barely seen any since we’ve been here. Lots of freezing temps, ice, and rain, but really not much snow. Anyone who thinks global warming isn’t a thing is either seriously misinformed, or outright delusional. I can remember spending the first 12 years of my life (until 1984) in Chicago, where, lots of times, the snow didn’t completely thaw out until May, so to barely see snow at all, here in Belfast, is just weird.

  3. That same storm is now hitting Southern Ontario and it looks like a lot of snow right now. It’s also pretty windy and I certainly wouldn’t want to be driving in it.

  4. To make up for the disappointing snowfall totals, here is something to look forward to:
    Death by Burrito the Cookbook: Mexican Street Food to Die For by Shay Ola is being published March 7.
    Who knows what burrito recipes lurk inside?

  5. New York was (as of yesterday) at #2 on the all-time list for Longest Number of Consecutive Days Without Measurable Snow, at 321. Another 10 days or so (we’re in Florida at the moment so can’t tell if any snow fell today before it changed to rain) and we will set our own personal record. Whoopie! If it never snows again, that will be fine with me, though even with just the cold I prefer being a snowbird.

    But, to each his or her own.

  6. From SE Michigan:
    Going out to shovel every two to three inches today because it’s wet and heavy. It just keeps on coming down.
    I would gladly “share the wealth” with you folks in Ohio.

  7. Not far from John in Sidney, we supposedly received 4.5 inches of snow, but I think a little more than 3 inches is more accurate in my neighborhood. I shoveled 2.5 to 3 inches of snow from driveway at 6 a.m. today and all that has fallen on it since is a slight dusting. We’ve had some misting rain, too, which cut down on the snow accumulation. Still, I worked from home and only went out for an eye exam an hour and a half ago (big pupils right now).

  8. I stayed up too late last night hoping my Dayton job would be closed today and am dragging a bit today. Not a big deal, but I appreciate the feeling of a let down.

  9. Next door here in south central Indiana (The Stupid State) we picked up 4”-5” and there was probably already >2” on the ground when I drove to a doctors appointment at 8:30 this morning. Snow plows couldn’t keep up so the roads were extremely slick, and while driving down a long, sloping grade, a stop light changed to red forcing me to brake suddenly which activated my car’s antilock brakes that then proceeded to chatter* gleefully as I glided nearly into the middle of the intersection.

    Now I don’t know about everyone else here, but when I began driving 50+ years ago, I learned that when one slams on the brakes, one of two things should happen:

    1) You come to a stop.
    2) You spin wildly out of control.

    NOT stopping and to just keep on going (even while slowing at an imperceptible pace) is NOT an acceptable option!

    It seems like all of the many vehicles I’ve owned that had antilock brakes, they all make some sort of noise. I had a Chevy Blazer that made a loud mooing sound like a cow when the ABS kicked in. I suspect this is an intentional feature from the manufacturers to distract you at the moment of your death.

  10. Good luck: snowed in is no fun. At least so I’m told. There’s a Reason I live in Los Angeles… :)

  11. I’m in Toronto and work from home – very glad about that today. Snow/rain mix all day.

    A check of Google maps shows me red lines and crash icons in the whole region.

  12. Glad it wasn’t too bad. We went up Pikes Peak on Monday and it was -12F, windy, snowing, 20′ visibility, and I thought I wasn’t going to make it to the visitor’s center. Then Tuesday we felt lucky there was no snow so no problems flying out of Denver, but it seems Houston was having tornados and we got a 2 hour delay.

  13. The problem is that you’re using antiquated units. They really meant 4-8 cm, and you got that…

    @rjb: of course your ALB make noises. I’m sure when you were taught to drive in snow, those many years ago, you were told to pump the brakes. That’s what ALB is doing, though far more efficiently than you could. Trust them — if you still slid into the intersection, then nothing you could have done without them would have stopped you.

  14. Here in Minnesota, we have sufficient snow. At my house, a couple feet of snow that has compacted to about a foot. An inch of snow is kind of an annoyance and I basically ignore it.

    But I do get disappointed when the weatherman declares doom and gloom and all we get is a few light flakes falling down.

  15. Eight inches in my mountain town is enough to make me happy but not enough to be more than a pain until they clear the sidewalks. My concept of “a lot of snow” changed rather dramatically when I moved here. Now, talk about two feet overnight? That is a lot of snow. An inch is nothing, just a dusting.

  16. @ Derek Broughton

    Indeed. Thank you. As for the pumping of the brakes, most ABS systems disengage after multiple applications of pressure on the brake pedal, so one eventually ends up in the same precarious position either way.
    Note: I rode BMW motorcycles for 30 years that had ABS systems, and stomping on the rear brakes while grabbing a handful of front brakes even on a gravel road always led to an immediate stop without all the sloppiness one experiences with ABS on their car. Maybe it’s a weight issue, Dunno.

  17. Seen on a friend’s Facebook:

    “Cincinnati will see six to seven inches of snow.”
    -George Santos

    (FB of Glenn Childress)

  18. Here in the UK, because we’re not used to it/prepared for it, that paltry amount of snow would still cause utter carnage.

  19. Much the same here in central NY, and I’m fine with it. I also like the snowed-in feeling, though, not having to go anywhere or do anything much. I once told a guy it might be nice to go to a mountain cabin, get snowed-in and spend the winter building a harpsichord from a kit. He said he could get into that, and considered us engaged on the strength of it. Oops. Now, I’m just regretting that I didn’t get my windshield wipers up before they froze down.

  20. Southern NM here, at 9,000′. As of Sunday, we were supposed to get 4-6″ Monday night/Tuesday, Monday afternoon upgraded to almost 10″.

    We got 3-4″, tops.

    At least I didn’t have to spend an hour with my snow thrower before I left for work.

  21. My corner of CT was “promised” four or five inches of snow, but instead it rained all night. Which is fine; I really don’t want the snow. But I used to have a bit of trouble with the septic during the spring thaw, and now that lasts all winter.