Frozen bushes in 2009. Ice storm then haunts residents now.
(Clinton, KY December 8, 2013) – When the first predictions of snow, sleet and freezing rain were being made by the National Weather Service last Wednesday, emails, texts and phone calls began flying around the region among leaders of schools, churches and civic organizations.
“To cancel or not to cancel?” That was the question.
Even discussing cancellation on Wednesday with the temperature hovering near the 70 degree mark seemed ridiculous. The weather had been unseasonably warm and mild for the past several days. Planners comforted themselves that road temperatures were well above freezing and that “it” whatever it turned out to be wouldn’t stick.
Christmas parades, church programs, public meetings, sporting events and an arts, crafts and book fair in a small far western county were scheduled for the first full weekend of December. With the Christmas season already shortened by a week by an unusually late Thanksgiving, every weekend is precious for pre-Christmas jocularity.
Television weather people predicted dire amounts of ice -“when (not if) the power goes out”), snow - “up to twelve inches in some of our viewing area and shortages - insert here earnest young reporter standing in front of empty bread shelves. It wasn’t just the weather people. They can be forgiven for getting a little crazy when the camera turns on them and expects them to hold the attention of the masses for an extended period.
No. It was everybody. All news media, local and national, seemed fixated on the coming storm.
One station bemoaned the fact it had begun snowing in Colorado and Wisconsin. No one bothered to point out that Colorado has a whole industrial tourism complex built on snow. Similarly, Wisconsin is quite accustomed to dealing with the white stuff. The tone of broadcasters was more suited to a report of snow falling on Key West than on Denver.
The venerable National Weather Service initially tried to calm the panic stricken by saying “This is not the ice storm of 2009” then adding “but…significant amounts of sleet and freezing rain are to be expected.” This, according to the NWS, is not Snowmageddon, but it’s still big, scary and dangerous.
On Thursday, at least one group made an early decision to pull the plug on its weekend event. It was agonizing for the chairman to decide to reschedule an event that his organization spends a year planning and intensive work on beginning in August. For the past eight years, the weather had cooperated. Sure, it was very cold on several occasions, but never had snow or ice interrupted the Fair. This was to be the one.
Consulting with participants, school administrators and watching the thermometer plummet as the winds picked up, the chair decided not to wait until Friday morning to make a decision. There would be no event this weekend. It would be too dangerous for everyone involved to try.
That was how my husband, Ivan Potter, reached the decision to reschedule the Hickman County Arts, Crafts & Book Fair from Saturday, December 7th to Saturday, December 14th. It was a decision he had never had to make before. And it bothered him a lot to have to make it.
Looking out at the snow covered street as I write this, it seems to be a given that he cancel the Arts Fair for this weekend. It was the right call to make.
Next Saturday, the National Weather Service predicts 41 degrees and a slight chance of rain.
We can live with that.
See you at the Fair.