By Jody Worsham
Monday, February 2, 2015
Weather You Like It or Not
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for map and darts
We have watched the Weather Channel since the time it was only weather and music…on a loop, long before there were actual programs on the channel. I think we were fascinated by the number of times their forecasts would be accurate and the number of times they missed completely. Of course with Texas, you really can’t fault their forecasts. It depends on the exact moment you tuned in to the station. There is an old saying that if you don’t like Texas weather, wait five minutes and it will change.
I guess that is the reason they don’t name storms in our state, too many kinds. Dust storms would take you through the alphabet in a week. Thunderstorms, will that’s a daily occurrence in the spring. Tornadoes, water sprouts, dust devils, “northers”…well I don’t think even the Cabbage Patch manufacturers could come up with enough names for all those. Instead, we just seem to classify weather by names with our own lingo to describe the weather.
There’s the “blue tail norther.” Now that is a cold wind blowing in from Canada cold enough to freeze your pipes and cover the tanks (stock ponds) with ice. “Nothing between us and the North Pole except a barbed wire fence. “ Now that is different from just a “norther” blowing in. A “norther” can drop the temperature twenty degrees in five minutes.
A “scorcher” is a summer day when the temperature is above 103 degrees. “Big bank building up” is a row of dark clouds on the horizon building up to a thunderstorm or possible a “blue tail norther”. A “downpour” is more than two inches of rain in an hour. Of course you can have a downpour at our house and across the street they only get a sprinkle. “Bottoms gonna fall out” means a heavy thunderstorm is going to produce a downpour soon. We also have our share of hurricanes but we mostly just use the Weather Channels name since those are pretty widespread.
The one thing we don’t have a lot of, except in the Panhandle area, is snow. Let an inch of snow fall in any other area of Texas, and Jim Cantores could broadcast non-stop for a week. First of all, at the first sign of a snow flake or sleet, all school administrators hop on a school bus at 4a.m. to check the bridges and roads. They must decide if it is school as usual, late start, or If they deem it is too slick for safety, they declare it a “Bad Weather Day” and alert the radio and TV stations, activate the automated parent calling program and school is cancelled.
At that point all the children that have been waiting for the school cancelation news, gear up in their Carhart deer hunting clothes, ski clothes, or don seven layers of sweatshirts, thermal-underwear, and hats. Without proper snow gear, Wal-Mart sacks are duck taped around tennis shoes and Zip-lock bags cover gloves. Dish pans, cardboard boxes, and trash can lids are pressed into service as sleds. Some kids are lucky enough to find left over inflatable rafts from the summer in the garage and those also become sleds. Everyone races to the nearest drive-way, ditch, or anything with the slightest slope. They have to hurry before the snow melts or is scraped away by careening cardboard sleds. Mini snowballs are made and midget Snowmen are quickly made. Everyone sends their pictures into the TV stations. Whatever clean snow can be found is piled into a bowls for snow ice cream.
If there is more than an inch of snow lasting more than a day, the highway department will start sanding the bridges and iced roads but that only slows down the number of wrecks
Now I know my Northern friends think we are insane for cancelling school, shutting down the city , and declaring a State Holiday all because of a little snow; but it so seldom snows here, no one knows how to drive on it.
. I took lots of pictures and made snow ice cream so the eight-year-old and twelve-year-old would have some kind of reference when the Weather Channel talks about Snow Storm Zelda or they study snow in science class.
In my little town, we usually get a heavy snow (for us) about every ten years. We had a good snow last year so it probably won’t snow again until 2024. By then I should have my guest room cleaned and set up for Jim and his crew.
If it snow 3 inches, we’ll be in the news!