Tempest in a teapot

The foreboding shadows gathered in the distance. The newspapers warned of an impending storm. Weather web sites urgently flashed scary iconography of dark clouds and thick rain. Shopkeepers read me weather reports in panicked voices. Co-workers warned me of frightening Doppler readouts, and sent memos telling me to make sure my emergency provisions were stocked.

Ten inches of rain starting at noon! Thirty mile an hour winds! Flood warnings from overflowing creeks! Ten feet of snow in the Sierras!

And so far, what? Nothing. A few sprinkles. The clouds were certainly impressive this morning and moving fast, but it seems to have blown right past us. Storm? What storm?

In most parts of the world, a “storm” means thunder, lightning, floods, hurricane-force winds, hail, thick sheets of freezing rain. Only in the Bay Area do we use the word “storm” to refer to what other parts of the world call “showers” and “some rain.”

And at the first drop of water here, the freeways back up for miles…

UPDATE, January 4th: Some decent winds, and it’s certainly raining fairly hard, and sure our power’s out at home, but I’m still unimpressed with the reality compared to all the hype.

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