Two weeks in advance, They said it was coming. They’re getting pretty dang good at this. It’s the Meteorological They, and if They tell you it’s going to ice up at 3pm a week from now, best get your groceries in by 2:30.

They’re good at this because they’ve got fat computers and custody of a whole lot of little arrows. They watch the arrows move around like sheep before a border collie and they have a good grip on where they’re going to go next. They’re hardly ever wrong anymore, and they weren’t this time. The weather arrows were lined up for what is technically called a doozy.

Snow. Ice. Frigid temperatures.

When I first moved here, it rained so much that I anticipated some whopper snow storms, but they don’t happen often. Apparently our rain comes from the Pacific Ocean where the air is relatively warm, but our cold comes from the Arctic, usually without remembering to bring any water with it. We live near the airport so we get it fresh before it heads down valley and has a chance to reconsider.

Most winters it stays in the thirties and forties and some years it never gets much below freezing. The trouble comes when the air gets to the freezing point and then wobbles around it in a panic, and that’s when we get confused rain. Ice, snow, rain, and every state in between, all at once or in layers, and there’s no driving in it. The snow in cold climates is as grippy as gecko feet. This ain’t that.

This doozy was not going to sneak up on anyone. The temperature was going to dance around forty degrees for a day and then drop off a cliff. It would start snowing at 3pm on Friday, continue into Saturday, and fetch up around eleven degrees, at which point ice would come out of the sky.

Ice! At eleven degrees there shouldn’t be any confusion about the state of water at all. I scoffed. But They were right.

And these weren’t sissy Celsius degrees ticking down in predictable decimal increments. These were big meaty Fahrenheit degrees thunking Germanically down like boots in a parade. Eleven degrees isn’t even a temperature we have here. We have to import it from the Yukon, packed in diced lemming pellets.

It got down to fifteen when the little flakes gave way to ice. The icon in the forecast is very sharp, like diamonds or shards of glass. I watched it for hours. It didn’t freeze up around the tree branches like a fairyland. It didn’t pile up on the pavement like a rink. It just disappeared. Hours into it, there was no ice visible anywhere. The only thing I can think of is that all those sharp diamond ends simply sliced straight into the soil without piling up on top. The excitable weather reporter on Nematode News described it as pure carnage. Breathlessly, because nematodes don’t have lungs.

So. We have snow, tree-flattening wind, disappearing ice, and an imported temperature. Soon, a sheet of ice will roll out of the sky fully formed like dough off a pasta machine. Next up: snot and prickles. And when it warms to the mid-twenties, water will develop gelatinous properties and bloop gently through the trees.

There’s no shovel for what we get. We just hunker down inside with a stack of books until the crap gives up trying to get a rise out of us and goes away.