Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Frenzy! (even before the first flake...)

The entire greater Baltimore/Washington region is in high gear, preparing for snow for this weekend.  Should be no big deal, it IS December, right?  BUT it's coming as somewhat of a shock for several reasons:  the last few winters have been pleasantly mild (if you're a cold-wuss, like me); and this area almost never experiences a significant snowfall this early in the season.  In fact, a friend posted on Facebook that according to one local weatherguy, it may be "our biggest December snowstorm since 1982."

When I read that, something rustled in the back of my memory, in the vicinity of where I file "High School Stuff".  Hmm, winter of 1982...10th grade...Biology class...DING DING DING, I found it! (I thought you'd be amused to witness the actual process that goes on in my head when I'm searching for a snippet from my past. It's a little surreal, but it works pretty well.)  Anyway, my Biology teacher, Mr. Hoffman, was a very smart man (as well as the original uber-nerd), whose hobby was: weather forecasting.  So one day we arrived at our classroom, flushed with cold and thrilled about examining cells under the microscope--I mean about the coming snowstorm.  Our bespectacled, fuzzy-haired teacher peered about vaguely, trying to get us to calm down, while we chattered about enormously important things such as: 1. when the snow would start 2. how much we would get and 3. how long we would be home from school while they plowed us out.

When he caught the gist of our conversation, Mr. Hoffman interrupted us to weigh in on the predictions of the (paid) meteorologists, who believed we were getting about 3-5 inches of the fluffy white stuff.  "Oh no," he disagreed calmly, it's going to be more like 10-12." With the sarcasm and scorn unique to teenagers, we collectively rolled our eyes at him. What did he know?  He taught Biology, not Precipitation 101!

Of course, Mr. Hoffman was EXACTLY right.  I forget how many days we got to play in the snow before returning to school, but I somehow doubt that we apologized for doubting him, when we got back.  So, Mr. Hoffman, I offer a belated apology and respectful appreciation of your amateur weather skills.  Today the estimate is for us to get between 8 and 13 inches before the final flake falls.  I wish I could ask Mr. Hoffman what he thinks, before I brave the store for milk...and soup...and hot chocolate mix...

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