Panicking because of “Juno”

The Thinker by Rodin

That’s what the marketers at The Weather Channel are calling the snowstorm now hitting the northeast coast: Winter Storm Juno. They do this I think because they can, even though the National Weather Service won’t deign to name these winter storms. Juno, or whatever you call it, has our attention as we are in a hotel in Western Massachusetts and are not particularly prepared for a blizzard.

What I was prepared for was 5-6 inches of snow to fall here on Tuesday, because that was the forecast when we left. By the time we had arrived last night the anticipated storm had turned into another Snowmageddon, with New York City’s mayor warning residents that the snow storm could be of epic proportions. This of course had me turning our hotel room’s television to the Weather Channel so I could join in all the anxiety. Last night 18 – 24 inches were expected to fall out here in Northampton. Later in the evening it had turned into two feet or more. Meanwhile, we are at a hotel here in Hadley, Massachusetts with a problematic tire, me with no snow boots and no snow shovel to dig out our car with. It was not hard for me to imagine how the situation could get worse, dangerously worse even. Our hotel loses power, no one arrives to make us breakfast and with all the grocers and restaurants closed down we were left to survive by breaking the glass on the hotel’s vending machine for calories. Actually, it would be worse than that. When we asked the hotel clerk, he said if the hotel loses power for eight hours, all guests have to leave. I guess we find shelter from a shrieking blizzard inside our car, or perhaps by tunneling our way into a snowbank. I understand snow is pretty good insulation.

Traveling in New England in the winter is always chancy, but I figured we could dodge this bullet too. As regular readers know, we are trying to get a house built up here, and that meant we needed to meet with the builder and architect, something best done in person. The sooner we can start construction, the sooner that we can move in. And so we came up again, although we were last here just five weeks ago. This time, because she is on vacation, our adult daughter Rose came with us. I guess she was curious to see why the heck we wanted to move 500 miles from her.

Fortunately, “Juno” deferred arrival until after our planned Monday meeting. Temperatures were in the teens, winds were brisk and the snowbanks were already high around here from a foot of snow dumped just a few days ago. We met with the builder and designer in a brisk and business-like meeting around noon, with still some open questions when it was over. Our sales agreement is not yet complete. Even if we can nail it down, no earth will start moving until we cough up five percent of the sales price and the city of Northampton agrees to allow the builder to at least dig a basement and put in a foundation. Even in the best case, after they move potentially two feet of snow off our property to be, it will take at least a week for some earth to literally move.

So for right now, our house is a longer-term problem, and “Juno” gives me something to fret over. My wife, a former Michigander that is used to large snowstorms, is literally blowing this off. “We’ll be fine,” she says and she condescendingly agreed to go buy some food and a snow shovel to assuage my sense of panic. Yeah, but she wasn’t a Boy Scout. I have to “be prepared”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t enough of a Boy Scout to be fully prepared before we left.

And so we are scrambling. Can we spend another day at the hotel if needed? Yes. Is there a backup generator at our hotel? No. Will there be a breakfast on Tuesday and Wednesday morning provided by the hotel? Probably, if someone can get here to prepare it. Will local restaurants be open? It depends on the amount of snow and wind, of course, but most if not all probably will shut down. We might be able to get a pizza delivered and most convenience stores (if you can get to them) should be open. In short, it’s unlikely, if we are eating at all, that we’ll be eating healthy.

So before “Juno” arrives, you scrounge instead. Hatfield is basically a huge strip, so scrounging is easy. I found some snow boots at a Famous Footware across the street. Target had a snow shovel in case I have to dig out the car. They also have some food we can heat if microwave in our room still has electricity. The Big Y around here passes for the Giant Food we have back home, and we bought more provisions there. Now we wait for “Juno”.

The forecast for our area is now 12 to 18 inches with high winds, which means blowing snow. Our realtor thinks the interstates will be clear and open on Wednesday when we plan to go home. I’ll try to turn on the Weather Channel less and slip into the hot tub adjacent to the hotel’s pool more.

At least until the power goes out.

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