Thursday, February 15, 2007

LOOKING BEYOND THE FOREST WE SEE...?

Looking Towards What's Beyond The Forest

"Trees and Cliffs of Eagle Peak" by Ansel Adams

...A somewhat misty but intriguing view of what is to come over the next 7-10 days. My family taught me the value of holistic thinking...that is, "seeing the forest through the trees" and now we take that one step further. We're certain of what's in front of us: A serene landscape, even if frozen and bitter. The questions are: (1) Will this turn into a 6-day weekend for some? (2) How will the current snow day tally affect the end of the school year? And, (3) Are there any more storms in our near future? The answers to both remain elusive, and will be subject to much speculation over the next few days. This much of which I can be sure: Nothing is certain. How's that for a professional-level response to perfectly reasonable questions? So let's get your input on these pressing issues:

(1) For those of you in schools which have been closed several days now, who among you believe that local political and economic issues will be great enough to offset safety concerns to reopen for just one day in advance of a 3-day weekend? This is not to say that I believe re-opening schools on Friday is a bad idea, I am simply interested in your viewpoint. Personally, I'd be perfectly fine with school reopening as my students and I have lots of vegetable and flower seedlings to transplant. If you're new to the site, a refresher on our purely speculative "hidden reasons" for schools being open or closed are (in no particular order):

A. Safety; B. Scientific Evidence; C. Economics; D. Politics and Perception; E. Historical Trends

(2) Ahh, June. The month has so many meanings for different people. For me, I enjoy it not because school ends for the summer, but rather that the glorious time period from June 21 to about July 1 there is maximum daylight, enabling me to go full blast in my garden. It is also generally pleasant and warm. I can sleep in until 6:00 AM then go right outside to work on the plants in the same shorts and tshirt I wore to bed, really. I know, that's an unnecessary visual, sorry. However, many others think of only ONE thing when you say "June." They say: "Freedom!"

I have heard from sources I trust that some county schools are tabulating makeup time according to how many hours are missed. By that method, for example, Baltimore County has missed the equivalent of 4 "days" which means the system at this point must make up at least 2 of those days. The last day of school was originally Tuesday, June 19 and assuming no more inclement weather cancellations, the last day should now be June 21 (the day on which climatological summer begins). Can anyone verify this is the case now, hours being counted?

(3) Several computer models well known for pegging a storm many days out are hinting at a Wild Card scenario for Saturday-Sunday along the East Coast. Among them are the UKMet and the European. The JMA, NAM and GFS are just showing a clipper with perhaps light snow. Granted, I still have to write the after-action report on SuperKahuna # 1, but am going to wait until later today it has completely departed the United States so I can report accurate final snow totals, especially in New England. As promised earlier, I have to pay the piper for some of my call that did not pan out as expected.

IMPORTANT SITE REVISIONS

CHANGING EMAIL UPDATE PROCEDURES

I apologize to the many readers who were expecting an email update and never received one in advance of this most recent storm. The distribution list is still operational, but I did not activate it this time. I really wanted to, and feel bad in retrospect that I didn't. Instead, the time was spent adding a new feature that essentially automates email updates. It has been tested several times and works wonderfully. Each time a new post is published, Feedblitz scans the site and sends just that post all subscribers, free of charge. Before announcing this service, I wanted to make sure it would not be accompanied by annoying spam, ads, pop-ups, weird other bizarre things that could junk up your email accounts, or sell them to a third party. Another built-in feature is if the site has not been updated in weeks because there are no high-risk weather events, you will not continue to receive the same update multiple times. Basically, by signing up with Feedblitz, you can happily go about your life, and if "something wicked this way comes" again, as soon as I latch on to the possibilities and post about it, you receive that post in your email within 24 hours.

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Having this wide range of readers provides us all with a sense of real-time "IMOYBY" (In My Or Your Back Yard...) conditions during a storm, and we are always looking for new members that can expand our cadre of weather observers. Last year, members of the Foot's Forecast community felt the value of having the comments for interaction during a storm outweighed the benefit of eliminating them to comply with telecommunications policies of schools around the Northeast.

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You create a simple account with Google and use only the login info (user id and password) to login into the comments. I haven't checked the Google email account I use for this in weeks, and it does not seem to be a problem. Registering to join the discussion group requires a few minutes, and in return you get a lifetime of enjoyment bantering and speculating on about storms and the like, learning about how weather affects the lives of others, and making new friends. It really is quite fun and it has made forecasting storms more valuable to me.

To give new (and frequent) readers a sense of the reponse this site has generated, there were over 4,000 unique visitors to the site on Monday, February 13. In the one week period leading up to devastating Katrina, over 10,000 people viewed and read portions of the site. This is not to say we are trying to make this the next Drudge Report. Definitely not. I say this because for those who do post comments, you also have a very and highly educated professional-level audience spread across the Northeastern United States. However many of those people just prefer to read the comments but don't have time to join the discussion. For those who comment frequently, don't be alarmed that way more people are reading than what you may have expected. Simply just talk (write) to us normally and in plain language if possible as if we're just having a regular conversation. Many of us, myself included have learned SO MUCH from the wisdom and insights of other people on here, it feels like family at times. I know that sounds campy, but this innocuous feature makes our little corner of the world special, fun and something to look forward to before, during and after THE NEXT BIG STORM. Please consider joining us!

61 comments:

Russ said...

heart say's--why not, my back say's---wait a minute! but, my heart wins out, as long as it is ALL snow--let snow, let it snow, let it snow!!! I HAVE WATER!!

Misty said...

I like "A somewhat misty and intriguing view."

Lisa said...

Call me an optimist, but I predict another day off for BCPS. I don't think the temps are going to be high enough today to melt away the piles of snow created by snow plows to make the sidewalks, etc. safe for our children. Parkville side streets are still in bad shape, and the people venturing out this morning have had a heck of a time just getting OUT. And with the dip in temps again tonight -- I say it's still too dangerous. The 2 hr delay schools we saw today were private schools that do not have children walking and waiting at bus stops. All the public schools were closed. I think it would be crazy to chance it tomorrow!

Mr.B said...

I only have a two hour delay today. Storm not likely. Why? Because I want one.

terpguy said...

OK- I give up.

Nothing's loading, and I've had two notes here die when my browser died.

So, once agin, you are spared my verbosity.

Abridged version:

Tomorrow? sidewalks...both where the kids walk/bus-wait, and traverse at their schools. Everything is frozen to the ground.

Weekend? The mid-ranges agree the SOME moiture will arrive here. I noticed that the 540 is in FLORIDA by Sunday....

We shall see....

Don't forget: we have Monday off!!!

luke_smith32289 said...

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. Being a student in Carroll County, I had off today (naturally), however, tomorrow still is a little bit questionable. While most will have a 3-day weekend to look forward to, I actually have a 4-day weekend (as we have Tuesday off). As several others have said before me, everything is still iced down, and still quite treacherous. The road coming to my house was reduced to half its size and it became a one-way road with even trucks having a hard time getting around. The part that was "cleared" was actually a thin layer of snow on the road with huge banks of snow all around it. Granted, I don't know if that's the situation with many other secondary roads, however, it's going to be interesting to see. Another interesting factor is sports. I know that Indoor Track States are supposed to be on Monday, however, my Regional meet was postponed until tomorrow, and they would not be able to move the event up past states, so states must be moved. Again, it's all very interesting the way it's going to turn out. With the temperatures tonight staying about the same as they were last night, it is questionable as to whether the salt will even take effect. In speaking of a possibility of a storm for the weekend, I have no idea whether it will happen or not, but I wouldn't mind more snow!

Mr. Foot said...

Mr. Terp:

OH NO not again. Here's an idea. If you launch into epistle mode again, type it in MS Word etc, save, then paste into the comments.

Dundalk: 28 F in shade. Yesterday's whitecaps in the parking lots are now frozen rock solid. Windy as all get out. When Pap walked out the door holding a glass casserole container, it was whisked out of his hands and prompty crashed all over the sidewalk. An omen?

Frank said...

Weather is to blame for a 50 mile stretch of I-78 near the Allentown area to be closed for more than 20 hours. Hundreds were stuck in their cars for the entire time in traffic with no where to go. Just thought I would add that since many may not have heard about it. Crazy that this can happen in 2007.

terpguy said...

OH NO not again. Here's an idea. If you launch into epistle mode again, type it in MS Word etc, save, then paste into the comments.

Lazy arrogance on my part.... :)

20.5F here...

ps- I finally got your email, and responded...

terpguy said...

luke_smith:

Believe it or not, among my other accomplishments, I was on the Indoor Track State committee for a number of years in the 80's & 90's. This situation has happened before. You shove the State meets back, and run the regions. One year we ran TWO regions on the same night. Several counties that were CLOSED got permission from the State to bring their athletes to the 5th reg armory to compete.

Be ready for anything, and good luck to you and your team mates.

elevation said...

Schools should be open tomorrow.

terpfan3 said...

luke_smith- 3A 4A indoor states are now next thursday (I run for Dulaney). I would be surprised if we had off tomorrow.

Mr. Foot said...

Julee.. due to the weather related cancellations,I would like to change my order if that is still possible. Sorry for the late notice. I'd like to have the new Hawaiian Chicken Pizza instead of the Veggie Lovers. Thanks

On an unrelated note... welcome back misty, but you'd better behave this time. No more NWS tirades. Remember I interned at the Philly NWS back in the day.

cgoodnight said...

17* in Fells. Went out last night to uncover my wifes car, and as expected it was solid ice. It still took her 10 min to get out thismorning, with me pushing! Thank Chrysler for 4wd, an easy out of my spot.

luke_smith32289 said...

Terpguy-Thank you for your response, I thought that they would move states to a later date, however, I had not heard anything yet, so thank you for your input.

Terpfan3-Thanks. I just went on mdrunning.net, and I saw that they did move states to a later date. Now that I've had time to think about it, as much as I'd like to have off tomorrow, I believe we will still have school.

Mr. Foot said...

31.1 in Dundalk and falling. Not much melting or evaporating out there, off the cars yes, but where there is thick layers of ice, or standing water: nada. Any reports from around the area..what do you see happening at the schools?

Hey EH..how are things up there. Sorry you got missed in this one. Wouldn't it have been nice to head up to Stowe or even Jay Peak...heck Sunday Rivah for this one, man I'll bet it was sweet as evah up there.

terpguy said...

Luke-

You're welcome.

Man, those were some times. Helping to run 2 regions simultaneously, and entering data into a (now) primitive computer to run the State Meet a couple of days later...

..oh, yeah: no such thing as a "Track Program", I tweeked the heck out of a spreadsheet program to make it fly.....

runner said...

Hereford High School parking lot totally clear. Busses were out in the Zone, probably scoping out the routes for potential problems. I'd say we'll go in tomorrow with a delay (melting and refreezing on side roads). Driving through my neighborhood in PA still a white knuckle undertaking.

Mr.S said...

Well, I'm glad to see that BCPS made the decision. I just wish it had been done earlier. Why did theywait til 5:00am? They knew we'd be shut down! I live down in AA county, but work @ DHS in BCPS. AA was smart and announced their closing on the 6:00 news last night. I know some of it had to do with all the power outages, but they knew safety would be an issue.
As for down here, my wife had to work, and passed a few schools down here. The parking lots and sidewalks didn't even look like they were plowed. A lot of the side streets were still covered in solid ice, and there were several traffic lights out.
As for tomorrow, it's anyones guess as to whether we'll open for one day before a 3 day weekend!
Maybe I'll see you tomorrow Mr. Foot, maybe not til Tuesday. Enjoy the day off, and spend time w/ the family!

Mr. S

chip said...

Hi all, and thanks for the update, "Runner." I would lean toward agreeing with you about having a 2 hour delay tomorrow. Our Blue Ribbon function has contingencies for 1 or 2 hour delays (perhaps you saw in email) but nothing mentioned about if school were out. Maybe that's a sign. In my humble opinion, probably a 2 hour delay for at least the Hereford Zone, or perhaps for all Balt-Co. Mr. Foot, any thoughts? Anyone else think it's bad enough that they will cancel? Are there other reasons not to open? Are there overriding reasons TO open?

chip said...

Interesting piece of info: the School Board meeting rescheduled to tonight, has been rescheduled again, to Tuesday, Feb. 20. How does that figure into tomorrow's status? I am interested in how bad it is in the Hereford Zone, or other outlying parts of Balt. County. Any info? Thanks!

Deanna said...

Harford County has moved a number of events from tonight to next Tuesday. Perhaps a predictor in tomorrow's opening. Honestly, I do not care either way - open or not, I am giving a test! Haha. However, I would like to start my trip to Harpers Ferry a lot sooner than 3:05 tomorrow afternoon. So closing would be fine by me!

The conditions outside were great sliding around with my pup! I cannot imagine how much fun it would be to have a sled right now!!

Mr. Foot said...

And the suspense builds! Are we a bunch of hair-splitting omniverts or what? I enjoy the opening/closing analysis as much as the storm forecasting.. it's even more fun because it is so more up in the air than even the weather. ha pun not unintentionally intended.

An omnivert? That is someone who's an extrovert in public and an introvert at home. Once I'm home, it's just me, family and of course.. the comments board.

Hmmm, if buses in Hereford were running to scope routes, that would be an indicator. How about this:

60% chance: 2 hour delay
20% chance: Hereford Closed, 2 hour delay elsewhere
20% chance: System closed

Do you think what neighboring counties do has an impact on us? I've heard an unofficial rule that sometimes, as Balto Co goes, so goes the region. Thay may not be as much of a factor anymore in this new era of accountability and AYP, but I wonder.

Crazy as it seems, I am really expecting 2 hour delays across the region. Except for Anne Arundel and Prince Georges.. they'll be getting a 6-day weekend no doubt.

Yes, attendance (or lack thereof) will be an issue for some schools. I fear some teachers will call out due to their perception that attendance will be light, forcing their colleagues into a coverage nightmare on a 2-hour delay. That'll be a blast. (HEY teachers don't get any bright ideas from me. I'm not ever going to do that to my colleagues, especially on a day like tomorrow. Lecture over.)

I saw from an elementary school "poster" or "commentator" that delays are also a mess for the K-5 group for a number of reasons.

Temps struggled to get to 32 and did not stay there long. Ignore the city/airport readings. Where you all are, out and about, it was cold and the sun did not seem real strong at any point of the day. Tonight, radiational cooling and light winds will let temps drop to the low teens region-wide.

I think it goes back to what terpguy said: Sidewalks. Daytime heating has ended and the Great Refreezing, Part Deux has begun. I think it all comes down to what awaits the investigative team at 3AM.

So set your alarm clocks, but wear the top pajamas inside out and the bottom ones right side out but upside down to double-reverse jinx the "have to open" Gods. . . that doesn't even make sense to me, but it was fun to write.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Foot.. We havent heard from EH because he is out of the country or so I thought!?

I have a feeling HoCo will be in session tomorrow... I think yesterday was the only day that all staff was out of the building so the idea of opening for "one" day doesnt apply!? No? Plus HoCo has zero days built into the calendar... will be in school well into July if we keep this pace up!

OT - pretty cool to look at your SITE METER.. lots of new folks finding their way here! :)

Great job!

Anonymous said...

HoCo looks plowed, salted, treated and good to go... here is a link I find kinda cool.. it used to have the street names listed... oh well...

http://snow2.co.ho.md.us/Index.asp

Anonymous said...

WMAR reporting that Anne Arundel and Montgomery County schools closed tomorrow (Friday)...

Mr. Foot said...

Anne, Montco and Southeastern (York Co PA) have bailed. Check the links I have setup in Closings and Delays in the right column.

Very interesting about all the HarCo and BaltCo events being [secretly] or not moved to Tue 2/20. Of course they weren't trying to make it a secret, but thanks to the internet, not much is anymore. Except of course how much snow and ice I tossed into our parking lot to make it LOOK icy, in case the investigators swing by early tomorrow morning.

Yes, Virginia, it appears HoCo will go in at least a delay, shouldn't history and politics win over safety for you. Me and the Foot ladies are going to the library, to get the word on the street there. And to read books/have fun.

emsays said...

I do not know. The side walks that kids walk on especially in parts of essex and dundalk are still ICE covered. Now I know that is not the responsibility of the county, but none the less it should be about safety. I would not want my child walking to school in the road. I wonder why Montgomery is closed. Did they get a lot more than we did?

Katie said...

Fairfax County Public Schools are closed tomorrow. They posted at 4pm today. I live in MoCo, MD and the sidewalks are still a mess, I wouldn't be surprised if they bail out too.

Mr. Foot said...

Reporting from the North Point Library here. Roads are fairly good, DHS is totally plowed and ready, but the sidestreet sidewalks are maybe 20% clear. The plow debris significantly reduces how much road space you have to walk on. I know because some days I walk to school myself. My 3 year old and I went out to conduct ice management. We were on what we thought was a totally dry, clear no problem sidewalk. I turn my head for .00356 milliseconds, and BAM! She is laying on her back on the sidewalk, hit her head but the Russian woolcap protected it. She is fine, but you can bet we salted all the sidewalks around our house into next century, including the yard, roof and trees just to be extra sure.

Despite all this...I still expect a delay tomorrow, history says we've done it before, it'll happen again.

elevation said...

I think HarCo will be open.

All the little side streets up my way were cleared.

I don't even think 2 hours late.

Sorry :(

Mary said...

Can wishing make it so?

playastyle said...

yeah... im not sure if howard county schools will be closed tommorow, i really hope they are. i was out and about today driving, and some of the roads are still really bad, along with the sidewalks as well. i hope we are closed tommorow, i still think there might be a chance.

Ed-ETHS said...

I hope we are not closed in BCo. I'm already getting cabin fever! ......O.K, a 2-hr delay would be nice. And, to all of my AP Bio students - don't forget about THE QUIZ!!

Deanna said...

My husband reported a messy side street situation through his drive home (from Laurel to Rosedale).

I think sidewalks will be a major factor in the closing of schools tomorrow. The sidewalks in my neighborhood were a slippery mess at the warmest part of today.

Honestly .. 6 days would be awesome. Plus, at Edgewood - my bet is 70% of the population comes to school if it is on tomorrow - Not good for AYP attendance!!!

emsays said...

People I know were in towson and they said the school was plowed but the sidewalks were terrible. We will probably have a delay though. Oh well, though I do agree about AYP attendance, it will really bring schools percentages down.

Julee said...

Okay ... as you may know (and be sick to death of by now) we are having a little sumpin' sumpin' at my school tomorrow, so I HAD to make the 26 mile trip there at noon today to "do stuff."
The roads were fine, the front parking lot, though sullied by 4 "learning cottages" was not too bad, the back parking lot ... eh. Sidewalks were okay.
While I was there, one of our teachers (who lives near the Maryland Line) said that the roads around her neighborhood were NOT good. So we guessed that since all other roads are fine, we'd have a late opening of some sort, in Hereford at least.
I was at school for six hours and we got a lot of calls from various BoE types who said they'd be attending our little "do."
What can we extrapolate from that?
*School will be open*
So we are left with this, fellow hair-splitting omniverts, 1 hour delay or 2 hour delay?

Mr Foot: If you were to ACTUALLY make an appearance at HMS, you could have ANY pizza you like.
AND you would have a special chair, a program, a boutonniere and a name tag!
The gauntlet is thrown.

Mr. Foot said...

Another factor, albeit peripheral is..

If snowy Garrett County and Washington Counties can get it together for a 2-hr delay, we should be able to, don't you think?

Coffee is made, house cleaned up, we're ready... now if we can just get the students to show up!

(If any of mine are reading, I don't want to hear: "we not doing anything today, are we?" you know the answer.)

tirsch said...

I just wish Baltimore Co. would make a decision and let people know tonight. I'm sure it would make it easier for parents of elementary school kids.

I say they will call two hours late but they won't announce until tomorrow. Bums!!

Lisa said...

Mr. Foot,
Well again I am the optimist, but I think the difference between snowy Garrett & Washington counties and BCPS is that we got more ice. In my neighborhood we are still trying to chisel our cars out of the ice, and only the sidewalks that were shoveled yesterday are remotely clear. The snowpiles from the plows are also solid blocks of ice. The roads are definitely okay, but not the sidewalks and bus stop corners. My logic: why take such a chance for *one* day before the long weekend???

terpguy said...

Larry Cosgrove, WeatherAmerica, sent out a "special" evening newsletter concerning an "event" that is to occur 18-23 Feb. I'm assuming that we (Central Md) would be near the end of the timeline, say, Wed/Thurs. At this point, he states that the Fall Line (rt. 95) could be the boundary between rain and a mix...or all ice. This will depends on a high pressure system in Canada setting up to facilitate cold air being pumped south.

Hot darn...something else to talk about!

TG

ps- If you've never heard of Larry:

http://hometown.aol.com/wxamerica/prof.index.html

chelsea'smom said...

Don't put much stock in the postponement of meetings to next Tuesday. Board/committee/etc meetings are rarely scheduled on Friday nights.

manda said...

im a hereford student and i check this about every hour to see what everyones sayingg. and im REALLY hoping for a day off tomorrow!



baltimore city schools just announced a 2 hour delay!

Mr. Foot said...

Terp:
I've been watching the Euro on this, and Larry's right.. it's another case of "Predict the high.. and you predict the storm."

I actually have a graphic I've prepared with that very storm on it to show why I think there's a greater chance of all rain, a slight chance of ice, and little or no chance of snow with this one. That's my early call for now. But it will be interesting to watch the models go flip-flopping, ping-ponging or ding-danging, whatever it is called over the next week. The time frame as you said is probably Thu-Fri. It's going to be loaded with Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic moisture, so I guess we had better hope it's RAIN and not ICE.

Deanna said...

Devil's Advocate .... being that Garrett Co, Washington Co, Allegany, and Freerick are used to snow .... they only close under extreme circumstances. (I went to MSMary for a year).

So... if they are 2 hours late... we should be off!

tirsch said...

Does Balto City really have a two hour delay? I don't see it on WBAL's website.

Tamara said...

It's on WJZ's site.

Mr. Foot said...

Folks, I am brain dead and signing off now. (No offense meant to those who suffer from conditions like this)

I have to rest up for what should be a BIG (little) day.

BIG = for Julee and friends at Hereford Middle

little = rest of us leading less-than-exciting lives (compared to those at HMS) to pull it together for a piffily 1/2 Friday.

Deanna..good point about GarCo and WashCo, never looked at it that way.

I don't know what "piffily" stands for, it just came out on the keyboard that way. Must meant I'm tired, g'nite!

Mr. Foot said...

manda.. welcome to the group!

Don't bet your hopes on it. HMS having a big 2do 2morrow. That alone will push BCPS toward opening. We gotta get a day in here somehow before next week's SlopKahuna 22-23rd and then of course there is SuperKahuna # 2 in early March.

oop, sorry that's classified. more on that one later.

kristine said...

OK Mr Foot..dont make me panic...I am headed to a convention where several teachers and I will be presenting- just so happens to be in Florida...we leave Monday and are supposed to return on Thursday...the next storm will not interfere with that...will it??? Not that I would mind being stuck in Florida or anything...

Chris said...

Hey

Chris said...

I live in the Hereford Zone and some of the back rodes are still a little sketchy I think there is a fairly good chance of a delay on Friday at the least.

Chris said...

Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Baltimore City is closed tommorow anybody know if there is any special reason like power outage or just roads.

tirsch said...

What's going on at Hereford? I work at Patapsco and haven't heard anything?

tirsch said...

I saw some of the city streets on the news and they looked terrible.

Chris said...

They haven't made any calls for Hereford but I can tell you that I live a couple of minutes from Hereford High and some of the roads are still icy in places.

Deanna said...

Well,

let's just keep our fingers crossed. After all, I guess it really is just one day of school .... even though I am sure it will stink because my middle schoolers will probably be out of control!

Oh well. .. at least it is a guaranteed 3 day weekend!

I love this prediction stuff ...

playastyle said...

HEY!!! DOES ANYONE THINK HOWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE OFF TOMORROW?

terpguy said...

BCPS 1 hour late???

That's like kissing your sister...

BaltCity had 2.....

HOCO-2

HARCO....??

Mr. Foot said...

Terp: I have four words for you:

Hereford Middle School - Pizza

A 2 hr delay would have fouled up the lunchtime program too much for the BoE Blue Ribbon program.

I think the county is trying to say: "We need to get this as close to a regular school day as possible for attendance concerns." You and I both know a 2hr delay is just madness in many ways (although I don't mind, it does wreak havoc at elem and middle)

At least it's Friday!

For next week's storms... just a clipper on Saturday-Light Snow. The Thu-Fri situation will no doubt prompt calls for you to clear storm drains and sump pump outlets, because a "stationary front" means beaucoup rain.

Deanna said...

I am not happy with HarCo this morning!!! At least it is jeans Friday!!!

6th graders - Look out for the culture test!!