NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration] announced today that for the remainder of the winter season, its scientists will give the public a new, easy-to-understand scale to categorize major snowstorms after they effect the Northeast.
Like the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes, and the Fujita rankings for tornadoes, the Northeast Snowstorm Impact Scale (NESIS) ranking system will give scientists a way to "quickly assess a snowstorm’s impact." Snow storms will be given one of the following designations: Notable, Significant, Major, Crippling or Extreme.
While the new system currently only applies to the Northeast, different snow storm scales will likely be developed for other areas of the country. Here’s my contribution to NOAA’s efforts:
The Winter Extreme Weather Hindrance Index for Nashville and Environs (WEWHINE)
Notable: Although no actual snow is expected (except for on the Plateau), rain, combined with temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, is forecasted for Nashville in the next 24 hours. Residents are urged to curtail normal television viewing habits in favor of watching updates on the Weather Channel.
Significant: Actual snow flurries are in the forecast. Citizens are strongly urged to immediately leave work in order to buy additional batteries, milk, and canned goods–even if you think you have sufficient quantities in stock.
Major: A dusting of snow has occurred or is occurring. This rating, along with the next two more serious ratings are actual snow WARNINGS, instead of just watches. Residents who have not already holed themselves up at home with a cord of firewood (required even if you don’t have a wood-burning fireplace), are expected to immediately return home. All public schools, and some private schools are closed–even though all snow will have melted an hour after sunrise.
Crippling: Real measurable snowfall of up to two inches has occurred. All schools, even Harpeth Hall and MBA, are closed. Drivers are required to perform doughnuts in the face of oncoming traffic on major thoroughfares. Expect lengthy power outages.
Extreme: (also known as the "Abandon Hope" rating) Snowfall of greater than two inches has fallen on Nashville. Immediately abandon all cars in the roadway and walk home. Burn furniture for additional heat. Salvage remaining water from toilet bowls for drinking. Draw straws to determine which family member, friend, or pet will be sacrificed in the event that someone will need to be eaten to prevent starvation. The lucky few Nashvillians who survive such an extreme winter event are expected to exaggerate the actual amount of snow that fell as they tell future generations about the worst snowstorm ever recorded. (Substitution of "feet" for "inches" is authorized.)