Friday, December 13, 2013

977. Wintry Mix

We live in a part of the country that gets hit by big storms this time of year.  I expect that.  Not embrace, so much, just expect and tolerate. 

What I did not expect, and have some difficulty tolerating (or even understanding) is this new thing the meteorologists like to call, “wintry mix.”  The cute blond weather girl bobs her head up and down, cheerfully explaining that we must have our ice scrapers at the ready because she anticipates a “wintry mix” on Saturday.  She smiles as if someone has just told her she won a new car.  Smile, smile, enthusiastic nod, wintry mix.    
I’m not even sure I am spelling it correctly.  Is it “wintry” or “wintery” or “wintree”?  It’s hard to spell something when you don’t know what the heck it is.   

I do what I always do when I want information but am too lazy to type it into Google:  I ask The Husband.
“What’s this ‘wintry mix’ all about?” 

“What do you mean?”  He stops reading his book and gives me a look as if I had asked why oranges are orange. 
“Well, what is it?” 

“MOV, you know.  Snow, ice, freezing rain.  Wintry mix.”  He shrugs.  His shrug says Oranges are orange, don’t ask me again. 
“Then why don’t they say ‘snow, ice, freezing rain’?” I inquire thoughtfully.  “That would make more sense.” 

“Well, they don’t know which one it’s going to be.  See, at certain altitudes, if the cold air is intercepted by precipitation, then it could be hail, depending on the temperature.  But if warm air is trapped under the clouds, it might only be rain.  Snow happens when the temperature stays below 32 degrees, but it is hard to predict because if they are even off one or two degrees, it could change.”
I was scrunching up my face, trying to listen, but honestly he had lost me at “altitudes.”  Sure, I was a flight attendant for 10 years, but the only altitude I had to remember was 35,000 feet.

Once again, I was being punished because I was from California.  No one in California in their right mind would say, “summery mix,” as in:  a mix of sunshine, ocean breeze, and chirpy bird noises.  Summery mix is implied by the mere fact that the zip code starts with a 9 and a 2.  (A 9 followed by an 8 is Seattle.  I wonder if they have “rainy mix” there.)
I look out the window, confused.  It is pure, fluffy snow.  I want to call it “snow,” but I know better.  Wintry mix, to me, sounds like it should be some elaborate cocktail involving vodka, Sambuca, and liquid nitrogen. 

I walk in the kitchen and am vaguely disappointed that we never purchased any liquid nitrogen, like they always have in the pantry on my favorite TV show, Top Chef.  Straight vodka would have to suffice. 
Wintry mix, indeed.   


  1. Mix Or Variety, meteorologists seem to becoming airheads. I completely understand. May they be afflicted with the curse of inconvenient things...

    1. Hey! Don't blame the meteorologists! Blame the TV folks, most of whom are no kind of meteorologist at all (which gee, maybe that's the problem?)

  2. It's because weather people have no idea what they are doing. Eventually they'll give up altogether and just always forecast a "weathery mix". Meaning that you should prepare for some kind of weather.

  3. Maybe it's a Midwestern thing? We get wintry mix, snain (snow/rain or sometimes sleet/rain), freezing rain, sleet, etc. I love your description of California weather! I'll take some summery mix, please.

  4. I grew up near Seattle. I think that "rainy mix" is no more needed there than "summery mix" is needed in So. CA (by the way, up here in the less sunny north, we start with 94. . . foggy mix!). Anyway, Seattle, like Portland, is pretty much by definition a rainy mix. That would be some heavy rain, some drizzle, a bunch of clouds threatening to rain but not quite making it, and then it got dark because it's the winter solstice and the sun barely came up anyway. No wonder I moved south :D

  5. Vodka. Yes. It makes my husband more cheerful. Wintry mix...not so much.



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