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.

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

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

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

More in National

Just In