February 10, 2010

It's Snow, Not the Blitz

9 a.m. Departmental email informs everyone to leave by 3 p.m. because of the impending Great Storm. I’m bravely heading downtown. Total snow accumulation: 0.

10 a.m. After an entirely precipitation-free commute, I arrive downtown, only to be informed that the building is closing at 1 p.m. because of the Great Storm. Total snow accumulation: 0.

Noon: Daycare centres close as a precautionary measure, causing anxious parents further worry. Total snow accumulation: 0.

12.30 p.m. Forced out early, I consume a beery lunch, where I chat with a Canadian about the mysterious extent of the Great Storm. On the way to the pub, I notice several gigantic snow ploughs touring the streets, assured that the white stuff is there, somewhere. Total snow accumulation: 0. Some drizzle.

2 p.m. Bussed back to Cambridge in remarkably English rain. Streets eerily quiet. Stores emptied by panic buyers. Total snow accumulation: 0.

3 p.m. Light snow! Melting into the puddles. Am assured by great authorities that the Great Storm is still pending. Weather forecasters are predicting something like 4 inches in the night. The horror! Total snow accumulation: 0.

5.15 p.m. I give up for the day. As I leave the library, I see that Harvard Yard is barely visible under an immense white carpet that has completely obscured the footpaths. Or rather:

Total snow accumulation: a dusting.

7.30 p.m. Everyone is no doubt safely at home, having left four to six hours previously. Snow turned to sleet and washed away the dusting. Total snow accumulation: 0.

I know everyone has been watching the scenes from D.C. recently, but the hysteria over the weather here is in poor taste. It is true that even Londoners are slowed down by an inch of snow, but at least they do not stop in advance of its occurrence. I hear in D.C. that it costs $100 million per day when government offices are closed. I wonder how much has been lost today for no good reason? All of this complaining, scare-mongering and, frankly, workshy malingering, makes me wonder about the resolve of Bostonians. It is, after all, winter. Snow is to be expected. Why all the fuss? For God’s sake, put your wellies on and get back to work.


  1. At least Bostonians have an aptitude for snow removal. Between the maladroit plowers and the timorous drivers, DC has no hope. The accumulation here, independent of what fell this weekend, is marginal. The wind, however, continues to stir white out conditions. I'm longing for spring.



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