Snow Job.

Let it snow. But not much.
Let it snow. But not much.

As I write this, it is about 68 degrees and overcast, here in Amarillo, Centrally Located Between Two Oceans!™ It’s been in the 70s and even up into the 80s over the past couple of weeks. Lows have been in the high 30s and 40s. I mention this because I’ve just learned that the brain trust at the Amarillo Independent School District have unilaterally decreed that school will be canceled for all of Amarillo tomorrow. This is due to the prediction by the National Weather Service of a blizzard (!) where they forecast between one and two feet of snow for us tomorrow.

Pause with me for a nanosecond, whilst I rage against the unfairness of weather here in the Panhandle.

A couple of observations…first, the NWS, NOAA, and the boys at the local TV stations are not known for their accuracy, if you get my drift (no snow puns intended). If the Holy Bible uses 100% accuracy as a the litmus test for a prophet, weathermen would have been cast out and perhaps stoned as false prophets. (Personally, I think if you were to read Shakespeare’s rough drafts, you might find a passage that reads “The first thing we do is to kill all the lawyers…then we stick it to the weathermen.” But I digress.) You see, with school out tomorrow, tens of thousands of Amarillo parents will be dealing not with the snow, but with, shall we say, the “collateral damage,” i.e.: “what in the Sam Hill are we supposed to do with little Johnny or Susie at home today?” If we’re not all snowbound, I’m sure they’re be a land office business in babysitting tomorrow. Going the other direction, should we get but a light dusting of the icy stuff, you’re gonna see a lot of parents gathering outside the AISD offices with pitchforks and torches, doing their very best imitation of that iconic scene out of Frankenstein.

Second, I’m kind of wondering why everybody is hitting the panic button in the first place. Where I come from, snow is an occasional, minor inconvenience – a novelty at best. Here in the Panhandle, I would have thought that, with everybody being used to it by now, snow would be something we take in stride. Evidently not. To be fair, this is the first place I’ve lived where hailstorms deliver chunks of ice the size of pavestones, fully-capable of penetrating sheet metal roofs on cars. (I speak from experience.) So when it comes to weather of the “wrath of God” caliber, Panhandlistas have some legit reasons to worry.

Third, I can’t believe that with the recent, relentless wave of balmy weather we’ve had, I can’t believe that a blizzard, of any kind, will stick around for very long. I mean, we’re forecast for a high of 45 on Saturday, so whatever we get tomorrow ought to get gone in record time.

There’s no business, it seems, like snow business. Area supermarkets were flooded today with people buying up every can, bottle, and snow shovel as if this is to be The End of Civilization as We Know It. Me? I stuck to my routine of studied indifference, secure in the knowledge that this too shall pass – although not soon enough to suit me.

You’d think that if we can send a man to the moon, we’d be able to do something to deal effectively with snow. Apparently not. So that leaves us with the question, “sans a technological solution, how do we deal with snow on an appropriate scale?” I mean, preemptively cancelling school based on a forecast seems to be a bit on the outside range of common sense to me. Couldn’t we just wait and see what happens overnight? It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of my offspring, but I actually have a day job. Where I grew up (Shreveport, Louisiana), even the lightest, dandruff-like dusting of snow would trigger the appearance of snow chains on sedans. Aside from the comedic value of watching these tools, happy-motoring down the avenues, it was, to put it mildly, overkill. Up here in the Panhandle, there is (from time to time) the need for traction, but canceling school 24 hours in advance when it’s 68 degrees outside? That seems a bit excessive to me.

Of course, I’m decidedly old school in my views on snow. You see the only valid reason I can see for snow (as opposed to plain old rain) is for winter sports, i.e.: skiing. Unless some genius figures out how to ski Palo Duro Canyon, we’ve no mountains here. (I’m told by the locals that Amarillo sits atop a caprock – basically a place that’s “The Mountain Formerly Known As…,” worn flat from years of erosion. Newsflash folks: Amarillo is flat. No mountain.) No mountains = no skiing. No skiing = no need for snow. Of course, the locals will also tell you we need the moisture. Of this I have no doubt, as our water pressure seems to be about 1/2 the psi that it was when I first relocated here to the Land That Time Forgot. To add to the merriment, local rich guy T. Boone Pickens has gone around and bought up all the water rights to the aquifer that supplies Amarillo with it’s water. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all having to take our showers out of a bottle. Unfortunately, the drought conditions mean that even a snow monsoon wouldn’t be enough to replenish Lake Meredith and the aquifer we rely upon for our water.

So, I wait in less-than-breathless anticipation for the onset of the latest meteorological thrill for the greater Amarillo area. One can only hope that the sturdy, pioneer folk here will be able to withstand the onslaught of Mother Nature, avoid the perils of cabin fever, and survive until the the Great Thaw predicted for Saturday.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…

Leave a Reply