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I tune into the Weather Channel and leave it on low while I putter around the house. Even with the volume down, I can hear the excitement in their voices as the announcers talk about the big blast of arctic air that descends on us this evening. The announcers get me excited, eager, even anxious as they point to the large weather maps and a swooping swath of cold air that is going to charge into my life.

The Weather Channel has perfected how to generate intense interest in weather events large and small. Last year they confidently started naming winter storms. What a great marketing move–named storms are so “hurricane-like” and lead us to watch the Weather Channel even more, sometimes in fear. I am reminded of the national security alerts during the Bush era: red, orange, or yellow alerts caused undue fear and trembling in American lives.

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Still, like others, I certainly take note when the Weather Channel tells me that big weather is coming. Perhaps it is just the excitement of something different, a change of pace from normal life, which in a small town is quiet. Weather! Snow! Extreme temperatures! Now we have something to do, preparations to make, errands to run. What food will I buy? Do I have my emergency preparations? Firewood? Flashlight batteries?

I will drive to Cheyenne later today as the cold air and snow sink down into Wyoming. I have a Thursday morning appointment in Cheyenne and with the snow that may also fly, I need to go today, in front of the storm. That gives me more fun things to do: prepare a traveler’s emergency kit, complete with food, water, candles, boots, layers of clothes, granola bars, hand warmers, a box of treats for Tango, two fully charged Kindles, snow shovels  and whatever else I can find. Before I leave, I will turn on the faucets just enough to make them drip, which will prevent pipes from freezing. The Weather Channel says–AND  I BELIEVE, AMEN –that a good citizen is a prepared citizen. My little PT Cruiser will barely have enough room for the dog, but no matter, we can survive for days in the wild lands between Wheatland and Cheyenne.

P.S.All important breaking news: I have made a decision about which boots to take to Cheyenne–the red, padded snow boots! Of course I will also take the L.L. Bean’s rated to -20 degrees just in case…

Meteorologist Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel

Meteorologist Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel (Photo credit: State Farm)

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