Thursday, December 15, 2005


Yesterday we got a snowstorm. Schools were closed. The white stuff was falling out of the sky. I called off confirmation classes in the evening. By the time the snow stopped, mid afternoon, several inches had fallen. There was a lot less traffic going by my place than usual— and let me tell you, I ordinarily get a lot of traffic going by for someone who lives on a gravel road miles out into the country.

This has been an odd winter so far. It seems we get an inch or two of snow every few days. And it's been cold enough (for a while there, record-breaking cold) that the snow has stayed on the ground, and it's added up, bit by bit. We probably had better than six inches of snow on the ground before this storm hit, and yesterday's snowfall was the biggest of the season so far: nearby town of Dorchester got 4½ inches, up here on the ridge we got maybe 4 inches or a bit more.

Though note, the forecast was for "5 to 8 inches of snow." 5 to 8 inches, and we got maybe 4 inches or just over. This is par for the course with weather forecasts around here: however much snow they predict, we seldom get even the minimum. Actually I'm surprised we got as much as 4 inches. When they forecast "5 to 8 inches," usually we actually get more like 3 inches.

And if they forecast "3 to 5 inches," you can expect maybe an inch and a half of snow. "2 to 3 inches of snow" predicted, we'll probably get more like an inch.

My rule of thumb is, expect to get not much more than half of the minimum snowfall the weatherman was calling for. And I can't think of a snowstorm we've ever had around here where we ever came even within hailing distance of the maximum predicted snowfall. I sometimes almost wonder if they don't deliberately exaggerate the forecasts in order to boost ratings on local news programs, in a sort of meteorological version of "if it bleeds, it leads."

Nonetheless, 4 inches of snow will slow you down out on the road quite well enough. And now they're talking about the possibility of light freezing drizzle, and more snow, today.


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