Stormy weather friends Parody: When snow starts to fall, it's good to know that Baltimore's precip reporters are on the scene, or at least on the grassy median.

January 16, 1998|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF

" it's 7: 06, and we have snow heading toward Baltimore from western Maryland this morning, so let's go live now to Jim Frobish in the mobile WZZZ radio unit out in Frederick. Jim, how's it looking?"

"Well, Dan, snow is actually falling here -- white 'precip' roughly the size of Corn Flakes is no, wait, make that Sugar Pops. Yes, Sugar Pop-size particles of frozen white matter are indeed falling from the sky, striking local roads and state highways outside Frederick and, well, melting.

"But in the last 30 minutes or so, snow has started sticking to grassy medians. Any time now we expect Maryland State Police to beef up their standing warning against driving on grassy medians. A little while ago I asked State Police Col. Ernest Earnest at the Frederick barracks if he considered driving on grassy medians especially hazardous this time of year. He stopped sipping his morning coffee, looked up, stared at me for what seemed a lifetime, and said: 'Don't you have anything better to do?' "

"Yeah, well, that's great, Jim. Thanks. Right now at 7: 09 on WZZZ we have this breaking report from downtown Baltimore, where several snowflakes have been spotted. We go live to Katie Still-Coping. Katie? "

"Dan, in the last 10 minutes we have had several confirmed sightings of snowflakes downtown. At last report roughly 23 flakes were Wait a moment, Dan, I just saw four more, four flakes the size of oyster crackers. No, make that Pepperidge Farm herb croutons.

"Of course, Dan, motorists should keep in mind, if they notice snow actually falling on them, to slow down, allow extra braking distance, switch headlights on, put on a hat with earflaps in case of heating system failure, and carry a shovel, flares, flashlight, cans of Spam and blankets at all times. Back to you, Dan "

"Thanks, Katie. Now before we get to closings, cancellations and postponements, including that all-important update on the Red Lion School District, at 7: 10 let's take a look at traffic live with Break-down Bob Rubberneck. Bob? "

"Thanks, Dan. This traffic report brought to you by the Olde Redundancy Shoppe in Old Ellicott City, where nothing is for the first time -- no way, no how, no sir.

"Well, with schools closed and government offices observing a 'liberal leave' policy, motorists will find traffic relatively light as we begin this morning rush hour. One exception is a slight backup at the intersection of 695 and 70, where motorists are slowing down to witness the awesome sight of snow accumulating on a grassy median. Turn your lights on as you pass and make sure that you have brushed snow off your windshield to aid visibility. If you are wearing a hat with earflaps as Katie suggested, make sure you have the visor pointed to the front. I know the Gen-X'ers love to wear their visor caps backward, but that way if you pull down the earflaps it may impair visibility.

"State Police report roads in the area are wet, as snow the size of Pretzel Nuggets -- no, actually it's more like Rice Chex -- melts as it hits roadways heated by traffic and temperatures hovering around the 33-degree mark. On wet roads with these near-freezing temperatures you want to take it easy around curves. Hang up the cell phone. Put down the coffee cup. Close the laptop computer. If you must use your portable fax machine, pull over, but not onto a grassy median.

"Unless, of course, you carry large quantities of kitty litter, which authorities also recommend. Spread the kitty litter under your tires for traction. But first, button your coat. And put a scarf over your face to avoid frozen nose hairs. Press the gas pedal gently to avoid spinning tires. Watch out for skidding vehicles. Keep twice the usual stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. And remember, bridges freeze before roadways. Close cover before striking. Extinguish all smoking materials. Employees must wash hands before returning to work. And above all, be careful!

"Back to you, Dan "

"Thanks, Bob. After this break at 7: 11 we'll be back to report on how folks around town are coping as flake-sightings mount..."

Pub Date: 1/16/98

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