Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter is Here. Be Very Afraid, Memphis!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 3:40 PM

The National Warning Service has issued a Severe Overreaction Watch for the following counties: Haywood, Madison, Chester … oh all of them, okay? Everybody is going to freak out. Because it’s going to be below 32 degrees. And also? Precipitation. AAAAIIIEEEEEEE! Go take your children to school for half a day so you can get to the store for some bread and milk without hearing them ask if there’ll be a snow day for the zajillionth time. Go now! Go! You have so much bread pudding to make!

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Be careful on your way, though, because visibility is low. Not because of the slushy rain, but because you used a CD case or credit card or the back end of a Desitin tube to scratch an eight-inch-diameter peephole through the ice on your windshield.

Speaking of ice, there may be some on the roads. That happens in the winter sometimes, even in the South. That’s why there are all those signs saying “Bridge May Ice In Cold Weather.” What they really mean to say, however, is “Slam On Your Brakes If Bridge Is Icy!” We just couldn’t get that to fit in the space allotted. So by all means, throw it into a fishtail as soon as you and your fellow drivers are suspended above 240.

It’s disastrous out there, and you need to act accordingly. No one has ever, in the history of meteorology, experienced a winter storm of this magnitude. Well, except for everyone north of St. Louis, who would call this frozen typhoon by its more common name: January. In fact, some residents of Northern climes might even be tempted to mock this warning, just like they mock you for complaining about the cold when you’re not wearing socks.

Additional Ridicule Warning: Those (former) residents might even tell you boring stories about how they went years on end without a snow day during their public education, since the requirement for closing a Minnesota school is that the snow be higher than a kindergartner. They may also brag about how they literally walked a mile uphill both ways in the snow (and sub-zero temperatures) to school, being foolish enough to have attended a university on the frozen banks of Lake Michigan. The only reason you will tolerate these stories is because that defected Yankee is the only person in the parking lot with an actual ice scraper in her car.

Don’t run off too fast, however, since that may be your only source of outside interaction for the next 24-72 hours. (Plus you’re about to get to an overpass. Slow down! Immediately!)

Sure, it will seem nice to be at home at first, all cozy in your soft pants with your loved ones. But then the cookies will be eaten, the hot cocoa will run out, and your Snuggie will start to feel like a giant fleecy straightjacket. Because the reality is, even before a flake hits the ground, you’re trapped. You have nowhere. Else. To go. Your office will be closed. Your yoga class will be canceled. Even your church will be shut down, which sort of seems like a conflict of interest in the Act of God department.

It’s just you, your co-habitants, and the Action News 5 Weather Team, all growing increasingly shrill until the spring thaw. By which we mean Saturday. That doesn’t seem far away now, sure, but just wait until your fifteenth round of Apples to Apples. Suddenly “Reasonable” and “Jack Nicholson in The Shining” will seem like a winning hand.

So seriously. We’re warning you. Not about the weather – which in fact already seems to be improving – but about the surrounding panic. All it takes is a stock photo of a tree branch encased in ice to incite fear, confusion, and spontaneous reminiscences of the ’94 Ice Storm. The NWS has been researching this phenomenon for decades and so far has been unable to prevent it. The good news, however, is that we’ve found a successful treatment based on the genetically coded disaster response of Midsoutherners.

The bad news is, it’s Wonder Bread.

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