Mostly Cloudy


An evening conversation: snow job

By Stephen Cameron

So how are you liking spring so far?

Still rummaging through the closet for those scarves and parkas you put away?

Look, I’m trying to have a laugh with this, but…

Doggone it, if I’d wanted to freeze non-stop, I’d have taken a job in the Yukon. Maybe covered dog-sled races. Or pipeline maintenance.

Songwriters and romantics have claimed forever that most famous three words in the English language are: “I love you.”

Not true around here.

In Manhattan, it’s the most famous TWO words: “Wintry Mix.”

Perhaps we should truly be worried that the snowy, blowy, yucky weather is causing folks to go a little bit batty.

I mean, spring has sprung.


We ran a photo of a blooming flower on our front page. Doesn’t The Mercury’s official “change of season” notice mean anything?

You know, there might be dark side to winter’s sequel.

Secretly, I worry that Mary Knapp adores this latest taste of Newfoundland.

It gives her yet another chance to explain Kansas’ bizarre weather. There’s probably a Garden City radio station on her voicemail, begging for a 20-second sound bite.

If you don’t know Mary, you should.

She’s listed as a member of the Department of Agronomy at K-State, but that’s not quite the whole deal.

It’s like saying Bruce Springsteen is a member of the E Street Band.

That resume is a tad short.

Mary is also the state climatologist, and she’s so good at it that when you were out throwing Frisbees and seeing April on the horizon, Mary was buying a new pair of snow boots — on sale!

When you call Mary — and we do, since the weather is almost always news in Manhappiness —  it only takes a minute to understand that she’s not just your standard, everyday, “50-percent chance of precipitation” forecaster.

She makes the jovial folk on TV seem like they’re guessing or throwing darts to come up with weather predictions.

In fact, we’ve had reporters phone Mary for the first time and say: “Is she serious, or just showing off?”

Give her a ring, and you’ll understand.

“Well, I think the rain should reach us from the north-northwest late in the evening — 11:22 on the west edge of town — and it will become a sleety mix with a temperature drop at 3:05 in the morning. Snow after that, with some accumulation. I’d say, oh…4.093567 inches downtown. About 3/8 of an inch more at Miller Ranch, depending on which street and what address, because…”

“Thanks, Mary. We’re almost at deadline.”


Clearly, I’m in awe of this woman’s skills.

She can turn an explanation of how snow cover protects winter wheat into such an exciting production that movie producers are thinking of a full-length feature.

But Mary, let’s not push it, OK?

I’m just about ready for an explanation of how too much sun can be dangerous.

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