Was watching a 40+ year-old episode of “Little House on the Prairie” one evening.

The wind had kicked up while Mr. Ingalls and Mr. Edwards were on a humanitarian mission of some type. While they were in town, a telegraph message arrived, warning that a raging blizzard appeared to be on the way.

Aha, so that’s how their early-warning weather alerts worked back then, I thought. In response to that warning, the men hurried on their way. They did not pick up extra bread and milk to prepare for the deluge of snow.

Weather forecasting has come a long way since the days when a telegram and word of mouth carried the news of impending snow doom.

It’s a good thing that technology has helped in this arena and surely countless lives have been saved because of early weather warnings. It’s a wonderful thing.

At the risk of appearing ungrateful, however, I think we may be overdoing it … on occasion.

Prior to last weekend, our meteorologists said we could get anywhere from a coating to 5 inches, depending on what forecast had your attention and where they positioned that magic line of demarcation, most often in our region, the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

We’re warned days in advance: “We may get snow by the end of the week,” which then becomes: “Winter weather’s on the way” followed by: “30 million people are in the path of what could be a significant snowstorm.”

As soon as the next to last flake fell on Sunday, we were getting dire warnings of yet another “significant, plowable snow event” aimed at us for NEXT weekend. Upon hearing those words, like lemmings but probably more like programmed androids, we flock to grocery stores where we purchase milk, bread and eggs (for French toast, one can only assume) along with such other necessities as toilet paper (never mind that there are 12 rolls stashed in the vanity upstairs), potato chips, Coke, Pepsi or Mountain Dew, and a couple of scratch-off lottery tickets.

When the first “warning” comes a full seven or eight days in advance, we figure we’ll get ahead of the game and grab extra “must-haves” right away.

A few days later, when the forecast has advanced to “Snowmageddon 2019 is on the way! Gas up the car, the truck and the snowblower!” we feel the need to stock up with additional bread, milk, etc. (Remember the days when we also dashed to Blockbuster or some other video store for movies to keep everyone occupied while the flakes fell?)

Is this advance warning a public service or a plot to make us spend more money than we need to? Are we being manipulated by the bread people, the milk people, need we go on? Are these manipulators in cahoots with the weather forecasters?

Will we soon hear: “This weather update brought to you by your local supermarkets, which are stocked to the rafters with everything you absolutely MUST HAVE to survive the upcoming, record-breaking snowstorm!”

Wouldn’t surprise me.

Snow is expected to arrive within a week. Must get to store! Must buy flour, sugar, chocolate chips. Must bake cookies to eat while watching snow fall.

Don’t forget that extra gallon of milk, Mr. Ingalls!

 

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