Blizzard Warnings

The warnings began a few days ago. What appeared to be a minor disturbance along the West Coast would become the Storm of the Century, a Winter Monster, One for the Record Books. By yesterday afternoon, the first signs of the storm were moving through Missouri, coating the region with a thin film of ice. Shifting into survival mode, employees departed early, schools were closed and food centers were swamped with desperate customers. After all, the Weather Channel was predicting some kind of Armageddon; we might never leave our homes again.

The snow began to fall at six this morning as the storm's central low gathered strength over the Oklahoma-Arkansas line, pumping Gulf moisture over the frigid air that gripped Missouri. Building through the morning, tiny flakes now fill the sky and visibility is down to a few hundred yards. As the storm drifts to the northeast, winds are expected to intensify and blizzard conditions are forecast for this afternoon and evening; when it's all over, at least 12-15 inches of snow should coat the mid Missouri landscape.

It certainly appears that the meteorologists were right on target this time and that their intended audience, prone to weather worries, heeded the warnings. Humans, after all, have been confronted by nature's fury throughout our history and violent storms have long been a source of fear and trepidation. For the most part, patience and common sense will keep us safe but the frantic warnings of the weather moguls ensure that our natural fear is reinforced. So most will stay home, obedient and responsible; snug in their heated caves, they will be entertained by the Weather Channel stuntmen who stand in the wind and snow, begging others to be more sensible.