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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eastern NC Blizzard Survival Tips

Y'all, I barely made it home before it began. Rain was starting to fall as I pulled into the driveway late this afternoon. A biting chill filled the air, warning of the fury to come.  Heavy, gray clouds loomed and swirled overhead as I got out of my car and ran for the safety of my house.

Frankly, I'm just thankful to be alive. 

Our local Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel is forecasting the "s" word: SNOW. And let me tell you, nothing pulls the crazy out of us Eastern North Carolinians quite like The Fish's forecast of a little frozen precipitation. Freezing rain, snow, sleet: call it what you want, but you can bet your bottom dollar that anything remotely WHITE and COLD falling from the sky will initiate a SHUTDOWN. It totally blows my mind how we handle Category 5 hurricanes without batting an eye, but throw a little wintry mix our way, and we go into full-throttle PANIC MODE. In order to survive a winter event around here, extra precautions must be taken. As a native Eastern NC girl, I'd suggest the following tips for surviving an Eastern NC blizzard:

(1) DO NOT PANIC! Even if the National Weather Center has placed our entire viewing area under a Winter Weather Advisory. Even if the DUALDoppler3000 shows your entire county shaded in light pink. Even if things are getting "dicey" out there on the Traffic Cam. It is important that you remain calm. 
(2) GO TO THE NEAREST GROCERY OR CONVENIENCE STORE AND BUY A LOAF OF BREAD & A GALLON OF MILK. This is when things get tricky. This is when you'll be glad you've been training for a 5K. There's just something about the threat of winter weather that makes us Eastern North Carolinians NEED bread and milk. Seriously. People who haven't had a ham sandwich in months will suddenly race to Walmart for a loaf of Sunbeam bread. Lactose intolerant folks will stock up on Maola 2%. These staple items will be flying off the shelves, so it's in your best interest to make sure you stock up. I don't care if you're on the Atkins diet and you're watching your carbs. I don't care if milk makes your tummy rumble. Trust me when I say you will need bread and milk to survive. (Go ahead and pick up a box of Fudge Rounds and a bag of Doritos while you're there. You'll burn off all those extra calories trying to scrape together enough snow for a midget snowman.)
(3) GET YOURSELF HOME AND IN YOUR FLANNEL PJ'S AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! As soon as you've survived the Bread & Milk Run, it's important that you head straight for home and get as  warm and comfortable as possible. Now would be a good time to crochet an afghan. Or put together a 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle. (Take it a step further and do a puzzle of a cozy, wintry scene.) Crank up the Keurig. Lose yourself in Pinterest. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Or park yourself in front of the window and wait for the white stuff to start falling. (This is what most of us do). (This is the stuff Snuggie commercials are made of.)
(4) STAY TUNED TO YOUR LOCAL NEWS CHANNEL FOR UPDATES ON CLOSINGS AND DELAYS. You'll want to make sure you're in the loop regarding local closings and delays. Let me tell you: you do not understand the emotion of EXCITEMENT until you've sat on the edge of your couch during a winter weather event, hoping and praying and wishing that maybe, just maybe your county will be flashed on the screen and you will be granted a SNOW DAY. Hey, we'll break out the confetti for even a TWO-HOUR DELAY. Who are we kidding? We all know that the roads will be totally drivable by sunrise (yes, even the treacherous "bridges and overpasses.") But OK, if we must sleep in until 10 AM on a work/school day for the safety of the public, we won't complain.
(5) BY ALL MEANS, GET OUT & PLAY IN IT! One does not simply stay indoors when one has been granted a Snow Day. You MUST pile on as many layers of clothes as you can possibly stand (don't worry, most of us don't have a decent coat, much less snow boots), grab a trash can lid or cardboard box, and head for the closest hill. Or ditch. Or pothole. (Now you'll be wishing you'd made friends with that kid in the neighborhood who has a REAL sled.) You might want to bring a rope too, because chances are pretty high that someone will be pulling people around on a four-wheeler. Whatever you do, DON'T MAKE SNOW CREAM. The neighborhood kids will need every little bit of snow/sleet/wintry mix to finish their snow man.

As you scrape the ice off your windshield with your credit card (not many of us around here own an ice scraper either), remember: we may go a little crazy when the temperatures start to dip and angel dandruff starts to fall. But no one knows how to celebrate a SNOW DAY quite like Eastern NC!

((((The following footage was filmed during the height of tonight's historic "winter event." Make yourself a ham sandwich, and watch at your own risk........))))