Monday, February 15, 2010

February Flurricanes in Columbus

As forecasters today call for six-to-nine inches of white death from the latest snowpocalypse, I ask quite seriously: How much bread and milk can a populace stockpile?

Here in Columbus, it's the third winter storm in ten days. Records are betting set, both for the month of February and the season.

How can you tell that we're growing accustomed to digging out? The number of Advil tablets swallowed in the twelve hour post-shoveling period has already peaked at eight and is now declining, just in time to save our kidneys.

I think we're getting in snow-shape.

Please don't confuse that with being in shape generally, because we're not. In 2009, Columbus was rated the 18th fattest city in the US. In 2008, we were the 16th largest city in population. If this snow thing keeps up, we're certain to see improvement in our girth, but urban flight might drop us in population ranking as folks seek a more hospitable clime.

Less than 30 inches of powder falls to the ground in a typical winter season, and if precipitation predictions prove accurate, Columbus will end February with nearly that much accumulation in a single month. Hence the winter weariness. But winter has been coming around since I was a kid in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, and let me tell you, just being from there is tiresome. Crappy weather doesn't help.

El Nino weather patterns notwithstanding, at some point the masses are expected to move from a torpid bunker mentality toward a more functional symbiosis with the elements. In areas where heavier snow is more commonplace (like my birthplace), schools still educate, people drive to work, and life lurches precariously forward in the frost.

Sad to say, but the sandal-wearing hipster I saw at the sushi joint this weekend had the right idea, even if he was sporting the wrong footwear. Fatty tuna and cold sake waits for no man.

It's not even a decent winter if you can't point to a pile of broken shovels, empty ice-melt containers, and eight pounds of crud coating your car's floor mats. You know when you stop losing gloves and scarves? When you use them so frequently that it's more important to keep track of them than it is to buy anew every couple of weeks.

Climate change might kill us all someday, or it may just flood basements in Manhattan and doom Fox News viewers to a lifetime of bulging neck veins. But it should serve as a reminder that, meteorologically-speaking, we have things pretty temperate here. It's easier to shovel a foot of snow than it is a half-foot of volcano ash, and we haven't run screaming from mud slides or typhoons in awhile.

Stop your bitching and toss another marshmallow in your Swiss Miss, people. It will be spring soon enough, and you'll be able to complain about how slowly the nimrods drive in the rain.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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