Snowflakes won't be the only predictable sign of winter these next couple of days.
Weathercasters and anchors will shovel a flurry of familiar phrases, gimmicks, banter and warnings into local newscasts -- plus useful info about closings, road conditions and what's ahead as perhaps a foot or more of snow blows in by Thursday night.
What the National Weather Service calls a "long-duration event" is a good time to play amusing rounds of Catch the Cliché in broadcast, online and print weather coverage. The format can vary from unstructured (shout "that's one") to formal (sketch a bingo grid with entries from the list below and personal additions) to adult-beverage risky.
This may seem too easy, but see if it gains appeal when hunkering down stretches into day two.
Start anytime -- on-air clichés are swirling already. Take a point, a shout or a shot when you see or hear each of these seasonal standards:
❄️ Grocery checkout lines and dwindling dairy or bread sections. (The Freep is on it Tuesday afternoon "as customers stocked up on everything from bananas and pet food to toilet paper.")
❄️ Ruler shows snow depth. WDIV makles this a score-anytime freebie by linking to its live SnowCam ruler, which shows inches and centimeters to "track the snowfall right here."
❄️ Reporter at road or overpass -- standups need visuals, of course, but take a shot or point anyhow.
❄️ "Stay warm" or "stay safe," anchor tells field reporter.
❄️ "We have team coverage" -- guaranteed serially, so just one-half point or shot.
❄️ "White stuff" -- take a point or shot, but switch the channel.
❄️ "Winter Storm Landon" -- It's snowfall, not a hurricane or a dude. Hearing first-name familiarity earns you a shot. (And Paul Gross of WDIV earns a shout for tweeting: "I'm vehemently against naming winter storms.")
❄️ Your community is on snow totals list -- bonus if double-digits.
❄️ Photos of yards, decks, kids and pets from viewers or readers. WDIV qualifies for a double-shot with a bonus cliché: "Show us how much snow you get in your neck of the woods."
-- Alan Stamm
Inspiration hat tip to the wags at WWBX-FM in Boston, who tweeted a Local News Blizzard Coverage Bingo grid Sunday as a "bomb cyclone" bore down.