Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Storm after the Calm

It never fails. After a winter with several hyperventilating newscasters gushing over the Mother of All Snowstorms, which ends up just being just extra heavy rainfall, and  legions of anxious Pittsburghers look like nitwits for having believed all the hype and ransacked the nearest grocery stores for bread, milk and toilet paper.
A big one strikes without warning or fanfare. Monday's snowfall snuck into town like a thief on padded socks, and left in a huge churning morass of slushy mess, with abandoned cars and trucks by the dozen on unsalted roadways and parkways.
It's just a little rain, I thought, as I drove out to collect M from a sleepover. It was just going to be a wet day and evening. Until I looked outside amazed at the brown deck now covered with a layer of white pellets. The white stuff was coming down in bigger clumps. A couple of hours later, and it was still coming down, now about 2 inches.
I reached for the phone to alert my husband- he's sometimes so busy on the phone that he will not turn and look out of his huge glass windows. "Don't delay leaving work for too long- the roads are likely to be nasty. It's been 2 hours with no sign of salting trucks, out here. Everything's turning white including the roads."
Three hours later, the desultory skeleton crew had been by twice on our roads, but with barely any effect, as the snow continued to fall. The radar picture showed a storm system determinedly centred over our area. This was going to stay in place for the next several hours, one could tell.
The garage door opened, and closed. My husband clambered up the steps, a huge grin plastered on his face at having made it home in one piece. "I nearly steered into another car near Carnegie. The roads were so bad that I took the long way home, just to avoid the side roads." Well, at least he was safe home now.
The next morning showed a grand total of 7 inches, though I'm sure that our driveway had at least 9. The lay of the land guarantees that snow drifts pile up against the garage doors, sometimes as high as 10 inches. Time to break out the snowblower for the first time this winter.
And silly me, here I thought that Punxsutawney Phil's prediction this year of an early spring meant no more late winter snowstorms! Well, there's always tomorrow, where there is already a flood watch out for melting snow from the storm, followed by temperatures blazing up into the 40s, so that all the snow on the ground melts in double-quick time.


kochuthresiamma p .j said...

so well written sujatha. i have forwarded it to my students - an excellent model for creative writing.

Sujatha said...

Thanks, Kochuthresiamma, I hope they like the style, though some of the puns are a little too local for them to understand.
The use of 'snuck' instead of 'sneaked', the 'Mother of all Snowstorms' (to recall the 'Mother of all Battles' so beloved of Saddam in his speeches before the Iraq war), 'roadways and parkways'- parkways being the arterial interstate connector roads. We like to call them parkways, because so many cars are parked there in traffic jams on weekends;)