I got yer infrastructure right here

Our flashlights have batteries. Our lantern has propane. My wife is presently picking up a few more essential items: nonperishables, water, and firewood. Somehow I forgot to put Maker’s on the list. This is something I will regret in about 48 hours.

Why? Well, this, of course.

That is the next great weather system to head toward our region. If you look closely and under the words Piedmont Plateau, you’ll see a graying, grizzled blogger typing away and looking out his window at sunny skies. It is, in point of fact, a very nice day.

And yet, every news station is currently pulling the all-hands-on-deck maneuver for what will be breathless coverage over the next couple of days. It’s laughable, and yet, completely justified.

I grew up in southwest Missouri. To this day, I consider it to be one of the most interesting regions in America when it comes to weather. It was a place that simply had to be prepared for anything–blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, you name it (minus the hurricanes, which never seemed to form over Table Rock lake). Because the cities and counties there are prepared, a weather event like the one you see above is usually an inconvenience, but not a major disaster. Hell, it took two feet of snow in 24 hours to shut down the University of Missouri in the mid-90s, and even then it was only closed for one day. This is to say nothing of my friends who live in Minnesota and Wisconsin and can justifiably laugh at the radar image above. Temperatures in the 20s with a quarter-inch of ice is the time the folks in Green Bay start thinking about making tee-times.

Here, however, the weather that may be in the offing could shut us down for days. Four or five years ago, a similar system knocked out my power for three days. I got the last available hotel room in Greenville and stayed there for one night. The next night our friends put us up. My internet was down for more than a week (and let me tell you, if I didn’t hate Starbucks before that, I certainly hate even walking in the place now).

To put it in the plainest possible terms, this area of the country is ill-equipped to handle winter storms. The infrastructure is not set up to handle ice and snow. The road crews have enough salt for a medium-sized baked potato and the power lines couldn’t pull a good sized catfish out of the river.

If you can’t quite grasp it, think of it this way. The southeastern United States is a lot like a college kid who hasn’t had a girlfriend since he got to school. He says, “Why buy condoms?” And then the one time he runs into a girl from Delta Delta Delta who thinks he’s cute…disaster.

Here’s a live-blog, in-game report from my wife who just called on her way home from the store. This is verbatim:

“People think the $^&$@$ world is ending,” my wife said. “Everybody is there, carts overflowing. It’s hilarious. People are truly panicking. People in the grocery store are like holy $%&#.”

It’s easy to blame the regular folks when they freak out over weather here. It really does look ridiculous and if my spidey sense is working, probably going to be unnecessary. My blogging friend Tom believes as I do that we’re looking to be on the southern edge of the storm and won’t get hit too badly.

“In your expert weather opinion…” my wife said.

That’s really the point. I, like the forecasters, have no idea what is going to happen. I’d actually bet against disaster. But, if I did, I’d probably lay off some of my action, because I’m pretty sure a 32oz. Jamba Juice spill on I-85 would put us out of commission until Monday.