Is your part of the world expecting the end for today and tomorrow? Around here (Essex County), the warnings have been going off all week. Whether it’s on the local Windsor channel or the Detroit channels, we’ve been warned about a big storm coming for about a week now.
Nobody is sure enough of the details to give us the exact time though. On the Detroit station, they talk us through two weather models – American and European – which give different scenarios. I find that somewhat amusing; wouldn’t you think that Americans would have perfected the American model? Whatever.
When a storm approaches, the weather forecasters seem to get a few more minutes to whip up various scenarios about how things will go. I guess it’s not science yet though!
Growing up in the snow belt, we really did get whacked with snow periodically. It would come off Lake Huron, go up in the air, and then dump on us. I’ve experienced some of the best-case scenarios and some of the worst-case scenarios. Of course, as kids, we wanted the worst-case so that school was cancelled.
Often though, it worked out like this – we town kids were expected to show up no matter what. The bus kids often didn’t get to go because their form of transportation wasn’t there. In some cases, that didn’t their stop moms and/or dads from dropping them off though. In elementary school, typically classes would run and we’d get lessons or work to handle.
At secondary school, it was a little different. Often smaller classes were combined so that we could watch a movie or something. We did, however, get hit with a major blizzard in 1971. I still have great memories of that – as a family, we had purchased a Ski-Doo and we enjoyed the lightly or not ploughed streets. We even went over to the school to walk the halls and meet with friends who were storm-stayed.
Like all kids, we would listen to the local radio stations to hear that the schools were closed and then we’d go outside to play. Figure that one out.
At university, the policy at Waterloo was that it would never close. That made sense with so many students living in residence or within walking distance. In Toronto, travel was via the Subway so as long as you could get to a station, you were good to go.
It was only when I became a teacher that I seriously and fully realized that all these open/closed calls were about students and buses. As teachers, we’re always expected to be there.
Living here in the southwest, it’s really rare that we would get enough strong bad weather to close schools although icy roads or fog will shut down bus routes.
It’s easy to reflect on these scenarios and think that employers are evil for not closing schools to help out teachers who are travelling. Until you’ve been in front of a group of students, you don’t really understand that school can be the best time of day for them. It is important that that service is provided. It’s particularly important with the next two weeks with no school for those students that rely on coming in for their own personal reasons.
As I sit here typing this, Jaimie and I just got back from our noon-hour walk. It’s -5 out there and a bit windy. It was cold but the Husky in him was skipping along. Depending upon which of the various scenario hits, it could get worse or really worse or not too bad.
I’ve checked the weather and we still don’t know for sure although there is an alert with a lot of verbage that is hedging making a statement.
While there is high confidence in a high impact winter storm, the details regarding wind speeds, precipitation types and amounts remain uncertain at this time. Please monitor your local forecast and the latest alerts for your area.
It’s interesting to mouse around the map and see where there’s a warning (Chicago), watch (most of Michigan and Ohio), and an advisory (Ontario). Then, there’s the Port Huron area where nothing is showing!
Of course, we’re all hoping that things will miss us although all the forecasts and advisories tell us that something is about to happen.
I suspect that most people like a White Christmas and it appears that we’ll get one. We just don’t know how much of a one.
While you’re listening in to see if schools are open or closed, just remember those students whose best part of the day are seeing you. That will make the trip in a little better.