These days, watching television and seeing even the finest meteorologist give a forecast that is everything other than summer would be a lot funnier if it didn’t mean that climate change is hitting this area — New England —  harder than it is hitting other places in the world.

Nobody ever said it would hit every place equally at the same time, although somehow that’s how I imagined it.

This idea came to me as I commented to Garry that my sinuses were throbbing, my lower back felt a little better than it had earlier, but both hips were pulsing in pain. also, I have a massive headache and both eyes feel like someone poured sand into them. Translated into meteorologist-ese, it means:

Chipping Sparrow

Humidity is rising, barometric pressure is dropping, probably fast. Temperature is falling quicker than my head can handle and the air, for the moment, is very dry (eyes), probably because I ticked up the heat by a couple of degrees.

I suddenly foresaw a new kind of weather report. Traditional and “old person” weather.

First, the modern, up-to-date scientific meteorologist gives his report. Maps, stats, wind directions, where it’s coming from, going to. When we’ll get sleet, freezing rain, blinding snow, less blinding snow, total amounts from Connecticut through Maine. How much of whatever falls will fall on us?

How long will it last?

Next snow?

By the time he’s done, he has forecast every possible form of winter weather and all anyone knows it that is will be cold, wet, and ugly. I better make a new doctor’s appointment in the morning. No matter how good a driver Garry is, he isn’t the only one on the road. There are an awful lot of people who don’t “get” that simply slowing down would prevent a lot of weather-related accidents. Four-wheel-drive doesn’t help on ice or sleet.

The weather report’s not over yet. Winter weather reports take up at least half our news broadcast, just as — when one of our teams is winning — sports takes up at least half the report. Especially baseball and football.

Photo: Garry Armstrong –Winter at home

Part two of the report has no stats, numbers, or maps. There’s an old person, male or female —  both? — in comfy chairs, rambling on a bit. Local color. “Remember that 24 inches we got on April 1st in the 1990s? That was some storm … and it all melted in three days. Lots of flooding,” she says.

“My right shoulder is bad,” he says. “Suppose that means cold with snow.”

“My spine hurts bottom to top. Rain first. Likely sleet, then snow. The boiler is in overdrive, so temps are dropping. Bad day tomorrow. Coming from the west. so it’s packing a lot of water. Unless we get lucky, we’ll have a nor’easter along the coast. Good thing we don’t live on the coast anymore, eh?”

“We’ll get twice as much snow as they get along the coast, but at least we won’t flood.” says the old guy.

“Not yet,” she points out. “When it melts, it’ll be dicey.”

“Figure six inches at least, depending on how much sleet and freezing rain we get before the snow. With the falling temps? Gonna be black ice under the snow. Time to cancel that appointment with the doctor.”

Everybody over fifty will relate. Anyone who plays sports will get it. What’s more, we will be accurate — at least locally. Can’t do national forecasts, but we can tell you how it’s gonna be right here in the lower Massachusetts section of the Blackstone Valley.

A heating pad really helps.

13 thoughts on “THE “OLD PERSON” WEATHER REPORT – Marilyn Armstrong

      • The 1:08pm sun is shining on today’s snow.

        My back and whole body still ache from yesterday’s two short, local drives in snow and ICY rain. Part of my energy devoted to detaching and later reattaching the “tarp covers” for our jeep renegade. They do a good job but my hands are not long enough and I am not tall enough to do the tarp stuff in one or two takes. I stand (feet extending to inside of car), stretching as far as I can pulling or stretching the tarp with wind, ice or snow blowing in my face and impeding my efforts).

        I considered leaving the roof tarp on during my drives. But that proved foolhardy with the tarp partially blowing off even though I drove slowly and carefully. As I removed the tarp with effort, someone ‘blasted” past me, roof tarp flipping and flapping all over – clearing blinding the stupid driver’s visibility. I chuckled to myself about the idiocy of the situation.

        When I finally got back home after a grocery stop, unloaded the bags and reattached the tarps, I was wet and frozen to the bone (I had a hoodie covering my head with all the hearing aid stuff–the hoodie was about to blow off). My gloves were stuck to my hands with layers of ice.

        It would take several hours for me to resume breathing regularly and I was still shivering despite warm clothing and a delicious dinner.

        So, as I write, my body is still giving an old guy’s prediction for the weather to come.

        It ain’t pretty.

        The impeachment vote proceedings– the GOP rants – aren’t helping my frame of mind or body.


      • Yes, record heat in many of the mainland states this week. Adelaide, where I used to live is expecting 44 Celsius in the next couple of days. It was NEVER 44 in Adelaide when I lived there and I lived there for 35 years. Melbourne had 39 yesterday, Sydney is expecting record temperatures too and they are still covered in a pall of smoke from bushfires to the north and south of them with no sign of relief. Doctors are warning people with respiratory issues not to remain outside for too long. I feel for the fire affected towns in NSW and Queensland even more than ever after my brush with bushfires last summer.
        Meanwhile, here in Tasmania, we are still comfortable in the mid-twenties. I’m so glad that we made the move in 2002. It was largely a climate-related move and I think it was a good one.


  1. They cover all the possible weather options, cause they don’t understand how the changes can occur so suddenly, that old balance we use to have, all of us, has now gone to the extremes in many cases, and perhaps, Marilyn, this is what the weather teaches us, we mess up all the time, enjoy making snowmen…


    • They’ve been warning us for decades and no one wanted to hear it. We didn’t want to think about it, so we didn’t. We made snowmen, shoveled snow, commented that “Don’t summers seem hotter than they used to be?” and life went on. I don’t think we can continue like that because I’m afraid life WON’T go on.


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