A quick, painless perfect storm

BY RANDALL RIGSBEE, News + Record Staff
Posted 2/28/20

It’s become accepted etiquette to lampoon our response to snow and ice here in the central part of the Tar Heel State.

Just a bit of snow — and just a bit is sometimes all we see around here …

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A quick, painless perfect storm

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It’s become accepted etiquette to lampoon our response to snow and ice here in the central part of the Tar Heel State.

Just a bit of snow — and just a bit is sometimes all we see around here in a given winter season, if that — can temporarily cripple our routines.

Memes abound that mock our inability to function when frozen precipitation falls.

By now, it may be beyond stale to make fun of our propensity to stock up on bread and milk and whatever else edible we can get our hands on amid long lines at the grocery stores; but we still, at the mention of snow, rush for supplies, and we still make fun of everybody (else) who does it.

Last Thursday afternoon, with snow already in process and wasting no time accumulating as a white blanket on the ground, I had all the milk and bread I could foresee needing, but lacking adequate dog biscuits, I braved the elements for the requisite snow-time grocery run.

My timing couldn’t have been better. The store was crowded with folks clutching milk and bread but I breezed past them to the pet food aisle, which was empty of people since no bread or milk is stored there, grabbed a box (on sale, no less!) and reversed my steps back to a nearly vacant express lane. I’d had no reason to time the transaction but was in and out, purchase in hand, in under five minutes, which in itself felt like a winter weather victory. With past snow events, I’ve stood in lines that snaked well into the aisles towards the meat department, commiserating with the folks in the line with me. Snow makes us friendly.

Mock us, if you must, northern transplants. I’m not saying we don’t deserve it. But I’ve come to accept our SASR (Southern Automatic Snow Response) as a point of regional pride.

When it snows here, you hunker down and wait it out; nobody wants to do that hungry.

In the case of last week’s regional mini-version of a snow storm, it was — in some ways — the perfect storm.

It hit late week, prompting school cancellation on Thursday and Friday, which by dovetailing into the weekend are better days to miss school than any other weekday pairing I can think of.

It came with plenty of warning, giving us scaredy-cat central North Carolinians (we’re cut from a slightly different cloth than our western and eastern brethren) plenty of time to make it to the market.

Power outages, at least in our immediate area, didn’t appear to be a problem during our winter tease last week, which meant we could enjoy the Thursday evening snowfall in climate-controlled comfort and not miss any television.

Like I said: the perfect storm.

With flaky, wet snow still gently falling on my roof and showing no sign of abating when I turned in for the night, I expected a thorough covering on the landscape by morning, but when I arose and peaked outside sometime just before 6 Friday morning, I was a little disappointed. My back yard, which logically got the same amount of snow as the front, was lush and green. Looking out the front window, the road was not only clear, it didn’t even appear wet.

Since it had been less than 24 hours since the first traces of snow had fallen the day before, I could hardly blame anything even akin to cabin fever for my desire, an hour or so after I awoke Friday and checked out conditions outside from the comfort of inside, for fast food; but that’s what I wanted.

Considering my McMuffin run to be a trial run to test the roads before heading to work, I ventured out and found roads to be generally fine. There may have been some traces along my route to fast food of the “black ice” television news never tires of warning us about, but it posed no problem.

Plenty of pioneering souls had already ventured out before me. The length of cars in the drive-thru line was testament.

I secured the food I needed and made my return home, also without incident. And not only were there no incidents, the blue sky that the morning after had brought was beautiful, even more so contrasted against the white snow-laden branches of the pines.

It may send us into fits when it’s forecast, but it’s nevertheless lovely to see snow here once in a while.

Even lovelier when it leaves quickly, as it did last week.

Like I said: the perfect storm.


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