It’s snowing. Pretty hard. We’ve been getting updates in clumps from the National Weather Service. Two or three at a time, often with a different prediction and forecast on each.
They really have no idea whether we are getting a little bit or a lot. Since we’ve already gotten a little bit, I would suspect that we are getting anything from “a decent amount” to “a lot.” These are actual calculable amounts in this part of the word.
A dusting is less than two inches and is ignored. It’s just there like powdered sugar on top of a cake. Decorative and non-caloric. Real New Englanders always refer to this kind of snow as “Just a dusting.” Alternative phrasing can include “merely a dusting” and “Pshaw, barely a dusting.” Pshaw is optional. However, you must include at least a trace of scorn in your tone of voice.
“Some snow” is more than three inches, but less than ten.” It means you will probably have to shovel it or plow it lest it turn to ice. The snow isn’t a big deal, but the ice? That’s another issue. This is an amount of snow that requires you wear boots. A dusting is worthy only of sneakers.
“We getting some snow,” announces anything more than 8 inches, but not a “big one.” Amounts may vary and occasionally can reach depths of a foot or more. Thus it could be explained as “We got some snow last night, ” or “We got some snow last night ,” or “That was some snow we got last night.” But everyone understands it was not a blizzard.
Blizzards are not rare. We’ve gotten as many as three in a week and I’m talking about just two-years ago. That always means a lot of snow accompanied by below-freezing temperatures, with strong winds and drifting. Predictions of oncoming blizzards are generally ignored by everyone for the first four or five days of warnings because “those weather people never get it right.” This is followed by complete panic as everyone piles into their SUVs and races to the store to clear the shelves of anything edible and as much beer as possible. Beer will get you through. It’s not New England’s official motto, but it could be.
People act as if they have never seen snow before, much less a blizzard. After they settle down, it’s time to drink that beer, glug the hot chocolate, and make a lot of snow jokes while hoping you don’t lose power. Losing power is not a good thing in an area where we all have wells. Without power, we not only have no heat (oil burners ignite using electricity, don’t you know), but no water, either. We do not usually lose power around here, but it could happen.
Today, however, we are just getting some snow. We have plenty of food in the house. We have snow shovels. We have an SUV. We have boots and gloves and a wood stove if things get really dicey … but unfortunately, no wood to burn. Oops.
I guess winter is here, huh?
UPDATE: Now they are saying 12 to 18 inches and the wind is picking up. But maybe that’s just on the Cape and the coast?