Not everybody was enamored with the buildup surrounding "Nor'easter Nemo." The designation, after all, was unofficial, bestowed by the Weather Channel and not by the National Weather Service, which saves such nomenclatures for the likes of hurricanes. And this was hardly expected to be - thankfully - Sandy-scale devastation. It was going to be - well, snow.
But the forecast was for as much as three feet of snow in one dump, and by any standards, that was a lot. Weather experts cautioned that, particularly for anyone who was out traveling, the storm had the potential to be very dangerous. And indeed, Portland, Maine, received its all-time record daily snowfall. Other towns in the Northeast experienced similar extremes, and President Obama declared a federal emergency in Connecticut.
PICTURES: Blizzard Nemo Slams Into U.S. East Coast
In anticipation of how it might all pan out, I asked some friends at various locations throughout the storm's projected path to make brief diary entries over the course of Friday and Saturday as Nemo arrived and ebbed. For some, the commission was more difficult than others, notably where the storm knocked out power - or, candidly, where it underwhelmed. Massachusetts took a much bigger hit than Vermont, and in New York, it barely registered. But each of my correspondents rose to the challenge in his or her unique way.
The contributors are: in Manhattan and in Astoria, Queens, New York: Steve Marzolf, online editor at HBO.com; in Milton, Massachusetts: Lisa White, director of guidebooks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (and editor of my most recent book); in Woodstock, Vermont, Sallie Schullinger-Krause, a longtime friend and former fellow traveler to remote Arctic villages, and her husband David; and in Barnstable, Massachusetts, on lovely Cape Cod, Patrick Ramage, director of the Global Whale Program for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Many thanks to them all.
And so we present, 48 hours (or so) in the life of a snowstorm:
Friday 6:00 am, Lisa in Milton, MA: School has been cancelled. Governor Deval Patrick requests everyone off the roads by noon today. Family is up, awaiting the first flake amid the anticipation: are we really going to get 2 feet or will it be a dusting? We want enough to go sledding, but we've seen enough busted forecasts to be skeptical.
Friday, 10.00 am, Steve in Manhattan, NY: So far, the dreaded Nemo is looking a lot like most other NYC ‘snow storms' ... It's just a rainy, sloppy mess.
Friday, 11.30 am, Sallie in Woodstock, VT: Woke up today to sideways snow, and about three inches on the ground. Exactly as predicted by VPR and our reliable friends at the Fairbanks Museum Observatory in St. Johnsbury. Tapered off mid-morning for a short period and has now picked up again. Went out briefly to pick up the mail, buy kitty litter, and a few groceries. All local errands. Not many people out; what cars were on the road were being driven cautiously. Listening to NPR on the way home, it appears that Hartford, Boston and Providence will bear the brunt of the storm.
STORMTRACKER: Where's Nemo Now?
Friday 4:00 pm, Lisa in Milton, MA: About 3 inches of snow on the ground, and it's coming down fast. Cake Boss Mini-Me (son #2) has decorated a chocolate fudge cake. If the Chocolate Auction at church on Sunday is cancelled, we'll just have to eat it ourselves.
Friday, 4.00 pm, Sallie in Woodstock, VT: After a brief lull earlier in the afternoon, it continues to snow. Class is cancelled for tonight and tomorrow morning. Despite earlier skepticism I'm just as happy not to have to go out tonight. Instead there's laundry to do, a game of chess with Dave, and soup with my parents later this evening. And one very attentive, lap-seeking little black cat.
Friday, 5.00 pm, Steve in Astoria, Queens, NY: Sometime between grabbing a sandwich at 2 pm and leaving my office a few hours later (Hey, Mayor Bloomberg TOLD us to go home ...) Nemo went from light sleet to medium-gauge-mushy-snowflake mode. From my apartment in Astoria, you can barely make out the RFK Bridge a few blocks away.
Friday, 5.00 pm, David in Woodstock, VT: Five o'clock and the dying daylight is showing us a heavy snow slanting slightly as it falls heavily and blankets Woodstock. We hear on the radio that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has decreed that cannibalism is still illegal in his state, even if the roads leading to Trader Joe's are impassable. We have around four inches of white stuff now, and I wish I had bought those skis at LL Bean yesterday. This is terrible!
Friday, 5.30 pm, Steve in Astoria, Queens, NY: It's really quiet around here now: