“But it never snows here, even in winter!” That cry was heard in every house on the street that morning. Outside five centimetres, or two inches as the news kept telling them, of snow covered everything. The people at Number Six trying to drive to the railway station regardless found there was black ice on the road under that pretty white layer. Everyone who saw Number Six’ sedan slide across the road into Number Eleven’s four-wheel drive found it very educational.
The broadcast news started telling people not to go out unless they had snow chains. Number Ten’s enterprising teenager fitted their snow chains for ski trips to their car, went round the street collecting money, drove to a ski shop and bought snow chains for the entire street. He charged ten dollars a time to show people how to fit and adjust them.
People with homes made to let out the summer heat found their winter warming measures weren’t enough. No-one in this suburb had ever considered double glazing.
More snow fell that afternoon.
Ten centimetres of snow, everywhere. The airport closed. The trains still ran, if you could get to them. The councils hadn’t needed snow ploughs before. The morning’s light-hearted news reports were gone. People were urged to check on their neighbours.
By morning the snow was fifteen centimetres deep and the power infrastructure was failing. The city was cut off.
At noon the Prime Minister was announcing a National Emergency Declaration live on air, being broadcast by all channels. The incoming aid was being spelt out when the signal white noised out and a pale, sharp-faced man in white fur-trimmed blue replaced the visuals. He rubbed his hands gleefully. “I so love it when people discuss my work. So, now I have your attention, let’s talk.”