Here in Redneck Central (somewhere south of Blogopolis in the Blue Nowhere), we don't get a lot of what you might call Winter Weather. Sometimes it gets chilly, and on rare occasions I will put socks on. I don't actually own a winter jacket any more, although I have a shawl and a trench coat looking thing that will do in a pinch.
What usually happens is, the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and once in a while it rains, sleets, dips below 30, and people go inside and build roaring fires to warm themselves by.
I grew up in New England, in a state where snow sometimes started in October, got serious by the end of November, and didn't think about thawing until March or April some time, if then. I am comfortable going barefoot in the stuff, providing there's a stove or fireplace on hand for later defrosting if needed. Or at least a nice pair of socks. I am familiar with how to heat with and cook over fire, and how to use the great outdoors as a fridge if the power goes out and the indoor icebox can't keep its cool.
When I first moved to Redneck Central, I didn't know about the Winter Panic that set in at the merest hint that a snowflake could possibly consider thinking about flying over the state on its way to somewhere else.
The Winter Panic includes but is not limited to: filling the vehicle's fuel tank, buying gallons and gallons of water and milk, purchasing bread and eggs as if they may never be available again, and paying usurious rates for a few sticks of wood bundled in plastic webbing and sold outside convenience stores. People will get violent if they see someone else get the last jug of milk or the last half dozen eggs (cracked and pre-scrambled for your convenience)!
No one around here wants to drive anywhere, and if a single. solitary. snowflake. should fall, they will huddle inside their homes until the weather guru declares the all clear.
Sometimes people die because they lose power and freeze to death, or asphyxiate on fumes from their propane or kerosene heaters. I am always saddened by these deaths...most especially the children, because children don't know better than to burn heating fuel in an improperly ventilated place...the adults should, though.
I am often unaware of what the weather is supposed to be doing...if I really need to know, I look outside or open the door, so it was news to me that we're expecting Snowpocalypse tomorrow. We could get as much as two whole inches of snow! And it could last (gasp) as long as Wednesday morning! When it will melt!! And cause...umm...moistening!!!!!
I do understand feeling concern about winter weather when it's rare. I don't blame people for trying to be certain their families are cared for and safe. I understand wanting to be prepared. What I don't get is why the panic? If you're afraid of ice on the roads, stay home unless you have no choice but to drive, and then? Keep to the right and don't slam on your brakes every few feet because a snowflake twitched at you. Don't take it upon yourself to be the traffic warden and slow everyone else down by pulling into the left lane and crawling along - not everyone is unable or unwilling to drive in foul weather, and that kind of behavior causes accidents that can be fatal. Your smug does not trump my need to continue living. Bread, eggs, and milk do you no good if you can't keep them stored properly or cook because there's no power. Think about what you CAN do if the electricity goes out - do you have gas heat and oven? A fireplace? A wood stove? No alternate heat, but a camp stove or one-burner? Nothing but electricity? Do you have blankets and warm clothing? Batteries and flashlights? Can you safely store refrigerated foods outside or in an unused, unheated room or porch? Do you have candles and matches, or Coleman lanterns and proper ventilation? If you have no way to keep warm and no way to store or prepare food, can you shelter elsewhere?
The best way to avoid panic is to have a plan and be ready to implement it...and be flexible.
Remember, it's winter - there may actually be winter weather. I know! It's crazy! but it's true - there could be snow every few years!
It's okay, though, because together, we will survive...and when it's over (in twenty minutes or so) and we dig out of the inches of snow, we'll smile, nod at neighbors, and have stories to tell for generations to come.