It's last week, and I get a call from Crissie, who is fussed because her husbandish, Shaun, has been abruptly called away on a business trip to Arkansas where it is apparently snowing. Crissie grew up in Florida and she has a deep-seated distrust of winter weather.
"Shaun won't listen to me," she complains. "He keeps saying that it's only a couple of inches, so they'll plow and everything will be fine."
I grew up in Connecticut and can attest to the fact that this is very true. Two inches of snow in a place where snow is a regular occurrence is not a big deal.
"They know how to deal with snow in the mountains," I tell her, trying to be reassuring.
"Mountains?" says Crissie. "What mountains?"
Crissie grew up in Florida and has a deep-seated distrust of hills.
"Haven't you ever heard of the Ozarks?" I ask.
"Silly Cassie," says Crissie, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "There can't possibly be any mountains because Shaun would never have gone off to drive around in the snow in the mountains without telling me."
"The Ozarks are really more of a plateau," I say while I hastily Google the weather in Arkansas in an effort to reassure her since my previous effort has clearly backfired. In fact, it has made things much, much worse. "We're not talking the Rockies here. Where exactly is he going?"
"Fort Smith and the rural area north of there."
While Crissie goes on about the mountains and snow and Shaun's heedlessness of her expert, in-depth knowledge of Arkansas weather, if not Arkansas geography, I find a local news site for Fort Smith. All right, I think, I'll have her calmed down in no time now.
Only the site is talking about the weather. It's the lead story. There's a winter storm warning in effect, but they seem less worried about the snow than about the ice storm.
"What's an ice storm?" asks Crissie, who grew up in Florida, etc.
"Freezing rain, like sleet," I say, still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that she may actually have something to worry about here.
"That doesn't sound so bad," she says.
"It's not, unless there's a real build up of ice," I say.
"What happens then?" she asks.
"Well, the roads can get like an ice-skating rink. And it can build up on the tree limbs and power lines, which means power outages. But that's only--oh, no."
"What do you mean oh no?"
I've clicked on the link to NOAA's website for the official warning. Build up of a half inch to an inch of ice on the roads. Widespread power outages predicted. Hazardous conditions; advisory says to stay home.
But what makes me laugh is the map, where the area of ice storm is colored in purple. Arkansas doesn't have much purple, but what it does have is firmly centered around Fort Smith and points north.
"I think you'd better call Shaun and tell him to turn around," I say.
"No shit," says Crissie.