A New American Tradition: Snowstorm Hyperbole

Last February, a big snowstorm hit the mid-Atlantic, covering major metro-areas like DC and Philadelphia in 2-3 feet of snow. Cities unaccustomed to such massive snowfall didn't really know how to handle it. Sans proper plowing and snow removal equipment, streets remained undrivable; sidewalks unwalkable; and most areas completely shutdown. This inability to handle the snow physically translated to an inability to handle the snow psychologically. What a place accustomed to snow -- like Buffalo or Winnipeg -- might refer to simply as a blizzard, suddenly became an occasion to freak out. News and weather outlets began referring to the storm in hyperbolic terms: Snowpocalypse, SnOMG, Monster Storm. Even President Obama, in a speech at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting, referred to the extreme weather as Snowmaggedon.

Since then, as more big snowfalls have drifted through not-so-snowy parts of America, freaking out has become a normal response. As the country prepares for another big one, here's a look at our new winter vocabulary. 

Presented by

Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in National

Just In