Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snow! (Or Beware the Grocery Stores)

Maybe I will get my wish of seeing Baby Dog in snow up to her tummy. The weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is for a very powdery snowfall up to 10”. Forecasts range from a low of 5 inches and go up from there.

Against my better judgment, tonight I will brave the madness I expect to find at the grocery store and do my weekly shopping. I normally get my groceries on Saturday. This weekend I'm expecting to be busy, so I was planning to go Friday evening on my way home from work. With the weather prediction, doing it tomorrow night may/may not be possible. So I will do it tonight, and if past experience is any guide, it will be worse than Wal-Mart on 5 a.m. on Black Friday. No eggs, bread, milk or videos will be left. The aisles will be clogged with everyone else doing the same thing. But even knowing what I'll find, it might still be easier to shop now than to try and fit it in later in the weekend.

Grocery store madness the day before a snowstorm is a relatively new phenomena in this area. I don’t remember it happening before 1993. But that year I can clearly remember a storm where the snow forecast was for some modest amount—say 1-3 inches. Once it started snowing the amount went up to 3-5 inches, and the snow amount kept going up and up. We ended up with snow in the 20+” inch range. Then it started to blow. Roads were closed. The governor declared a state of emergency. No one was allowed on the roads except for emergency vehicles. People were snowed in for days. That was a Friday or at least a weekend storm, so home grocery coffers were already low in most households. With the 1-3” forecast, no one changed their grocery shopping plans, but by the time people eventually got out of their houses and could get to a store, they often had little food left. To make matters worse, the following week or 10 days later, the Exact Same Thing happened, in exactly the same way. We ended up with a yard of snow on the ground that lasted all winter. Since that time, if the forecast is even only for a few inches of snow, the grocery stores are packed to the gills the night before the storm. People aren’t willing to trust that a forecast predicting only a few inches of snow will be right. They know what it’s like to be “stranded” in their houses with screaming kids and no perishables. Today, with a forecast of up to 10” for tomorrow, the stores will be madness.

It might even be fun.

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