SPECIFICALLY SPEAKING

SPECIFICALLY SPEAKING | THE DAILY POST


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.

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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.

Language Lessons

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.

Out my front door

Out my front door

“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.

Front forty, snow falling

Front forty, snow falling

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.

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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.

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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?

27 thoughts on “SPECIFICALLY SPEAKING

    • This is the prettiest part of the snow, when there’s a coating on everything and the plow hasn’t come through. But the sky is lead grey white and it’s definitely coming down pretty hard. I guess it really IS winter. I hoped.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I view the national weather service the way I do horoscopes and wikipedia–and the long rage forecast is insane, changing hourly. I used to love the weathermen in California, it was rip and read, most of the time: “Sunny today, highs in the 80s.” “sunny today, highs in the 80s”

    ive reached the point where if I look out the window and it’s snowing, well, okay, it’s snowing. If I check back a few hours later and it’s still snowing, I mentally measure the amount on the ladder rungs and think, okay, an inch an hour.
    I don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. bwahahahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • We live in a little bubble, so our weather is often quite different than the weather all around us. It may be snowing like mad or blowing a hurricane two miles north or south, but here? Light rain and the sun is peeking through. Football is on the TV and pasta for dinner. We’re good. But it’s really snowing pretty hard. I wish I’d thought to buy a bit of wood for the stove. Oh well.

      I’m a firm believer in looking out the back door. No matter WHAT they say on TV, that’s usually my best gauge. That and how much my arthritis is throbbing.

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  2. yep, i hear that. We live on a high point of land, about 1050 feet above sea level. We have snow when the town in the valley has rain, or nothing. Our general outdoor temperature is about 10 deg. lower, winter and summer than anywhere else. Sometimes we have six inches of snow and as we descend off the mountain it gets less and less, and at the bottom, nothing.

    My husband checks with NWS to see if it’s raining. sigh. I stick my hand out the door. If I say it looks like thunderheads out there he checks to see what the weathermen say while I run around and unplug things.

    Next time you go out, buy a few bundles of wood. Just for the future. =)

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    • I actually meant to get some wood, but i just plain forgot. Next time!

      Now they are saying 5 to 8 inches with up to two feet along the coast. Which means … they have NO idea. But I can read a weather map and the storm is moving east, out to sea. We are west. So I don’t think we are going to get more than maybe six or seven inches. And it’s the very light fluffy stuff.

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    • Fortunately, it isn’t that cold. Last year, it was that cold which was hard for a lot of people who just barely have enough to keep their pipes from freezing, much less keep themselves warm. It’s around 18 – 20 here, a bit lower further north, a few degrees warmer on the Cape and Islands. It usually warms up while snow is falling and drops down when it stops … but if i’m reading the map right, this storm is going out to sea, so this is about as bad as it gets here. By Monday, it’s supposed to be back up into the high 30s, so with a little luck, this will melt before we get more. I don’t mind the snow, but I mind the ice and I hate when it piles up and we have to find someone to shovel the roof.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a flat roof. Fortunately, the roof is new and it doesn’t snow that much hear and usually doesn’t last too long. But in May we had a big wet snow that brought down branches — that was nasty. :O

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        • We had more than 7 feet of snow piled on the roof. It had nothing to do with leaking. It had to do with not wanting the roof to collapse. The weight of it was more than it was rated for. We never had this problem until we got the attic insulated. Now, the snow doesn’t melt off the roof unless it’s very warm, so if we have a lot of snow — we’ve had two years running with more than 12 feet — it just piles up to dangerous levels and someone has to go up there and clear it off.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. like the photo effects Marilyn- it snowed all day here and will continue til 9 they say. Original prediction 2 inches- it’s at least 6 already. Looking forward to sun tomorrow- but only 21 degrees! More hot cocoa coming up!

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    • They are getting upt to 2 feet along the Cape and on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Boston is also getting whacked. We’ve got about 5 or 6 inches. Maybe we’ll get a little more before it blows out to sea. The storm is moving east — out to sea — so if you aren’t already buried, THIS storm won’t bury you. But. It’s only early January. Plenty of time for more.

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    • And your photos of sunshine are very welcome here! Funny to have the seasons reversed. Some of the new filters I got are so much fun to use. I have to use them sparingly, but I’m having a really good time!

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  4. There is a good side to the snow – you can look at it and take photos and find a winterwonderland. There is a not so good side, when you have to make a journey in the snow and hope the roads are driveable. One way or the other, whether it is a light snowfall, or a heavy one, it does what it wants. I prefer the photographic side of it.

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    • Just getting up our driveway to the car is an excursion. We’ll get plowed out tomorrow, but it’s always icy even after plowing and we can’t use a lot of salt because of the danger of it leeching into the well. I don’t get out much in the middle of winter. I am hoping it’ll be easier this year because we have an SUV (finally), so getting up and down in even bad weather. I’m hoping it’ll make the quality of life better this year.

      I love the beauty of snow. I don’t even mind the cold that much. It’s the bad footing and ice and danger of falling that makes me very wary of going out there. It is beautiful.

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  5. Snow’s very pretty and exciting until you remember you have to drive to work 😦
    The problem is, it only snows in Cornwall once every decade or so (by which I mean it actually sticks around for more than a couple of hours) so we don’t know how to handle it.

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    • We are past the work stage, but we still have to get out to buy groceries, see doctors, visit the occasional friend. Can’t stay in ALL the time. I had a friend who grew up in Somerset and he remembered a lot of snow in the winter. Is the climate so different between Cornwall and Somerset? Maybe because Somerset is more inland?

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      • It’s massively different. Even between Devon and Cornwall (Somerset is the other side of Devon). Three sides of Cornwall stick out into the sea and it’s a narrow county, I think that affects the weather a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I also wanted to say that anyplace I’ve lived where snow only falls once in a long while, they go crazy when it does snow. No one owns snow clearing equipment. Once, in Jerusalem, we got 21 inches of snow … some kind of record. No could ever remember that much snow. Typically, if we got 1/4 inch, it was enough to stop traffic, especially because there is only one snow plow in the city. That big snow closed down the city for a week. I think most people had a good time with their long snow holiday.

      Around here, pretty much everyone owns snowblowers and shovels and 4WD vehicles … but my son forgot to unpack the snowblower, so it’s still in the shed where it won’t be of much use. This was not such a big snow, as these things go … and if this is as bad as it gets, that’s just fine with me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I learned my lesson about traveling below the Mason-Dixon line during the winter. Nothing like getting stranded an extra day in a winter storm that we would have laughed at because the entire state has no clue how to properly clear roads (Earth to Oklahoma: You’re right in the middle of the ice Belt…. you get winter weather every year! Deal with it!!!!!!!)

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        • People here get hysterical and morbid about the weather. Which is pretty strange considering we are winter weather central and get more snow than Montreal on the average. People sit glued to their TV’s and weather channels, obsessing over weather maps. Like … this doesn’t happen EVERY year? We do get winters without any or just a little bit of snow, but that’s rare. Usually, we get upwards of 8 to 10 feet and 12 is not unusual. Almost everyone has an SUV and they DO know how to plow.

          But people are weird and frankly, I think it’s as much as anything, something to get excited about. There’s not a lot going on around here. It’s a pretty low-key sort of place, so why not go wacky about impending snow? Beats out worrying about death and taxes, the other big couple of topics.

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