Friday, April 07, 2006

I've Seen It All Now

Living in Memphis in winter is always challenging, but never more so than when there's the threat of snow or ice. At the first mention of any of the S-words (snow, sleet, slick, shiver, stranded), the grocery stores are overrun with panicked shoppers, desperate to ensure they don't endure the few paltry inches of white stuff we get without a proper stock of bread, milk, Campbell's Soup, and vanilla (for possible snow creme.) The streets are soon thick with traffic, slowed to a crawl by the lack of a staggered quitting time. Children in the area turn off their Playstations to watch the news, flipping the remotes relentlessly, in search of that magic S-phrase: School Closings. The outcome is a lot more predictable than the weather.

But we're past that now. It's April, right? Right. It's 70 degrees outside.

You can imagine my surprise when I got to work this morning, to find the office buzzing with just-reported news that area schools would be closing at noon. For inclement weather. 70 degrees. Thunderstorms predicted.

Surely not.

Surely yep. Our schools closed early today because. . . it might rain.

Granted, we had some very nasty storms north of Memphis last week. Twenty-seven people were killed in surrounding areas when up to 63 tornadoes pounded the area. Nothing to take lightly, but still. Because the storms were predicted to hit around the normal release time, our skittish school board decided to dismiss school at noon. Instead of panicked shoppers, we had panicked parents scouring the city for babysitters, and the streets quickly became a knotted quagmire of metal as lunch hour traffic met panicked parent traffic, and nobody could really move at all.

The irony is that we did have a severe thunderstorm--hail, lightning, a suspected funnel cloud.

When did it strike, you ask?

Noon, of course.

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