You almost didn't need a weatherman on Friday morning to tell it was going to snow. The morning was cold and unusually dark, the clouds were low and heavy, the curtain was about to rise on a wintry play.

Traffic was light, schools were called off and some businesses were closed. The governor asked nonessential state employees to stay home. Is it better to be essential or nonessential? Will your obituary read, "He retired after 28 years as a nonessential employee"? Watching the list of cancellations told us that a lot of stuff goes on here. That's good.

The major question was whether the power would go out, and for how long. At least it is February and the leaves are off the trees. Nevertheless, people crowded supermarkets and gas stations before the storm, stocking up on food, batteries and other essentials. We are reminded of a conversation overheard before a storm a few years ago. The woman said, "We need to buy milk." The man said, "We don't drink milk."

This is high season for television meteorologists, whose manic enthusiasm for the unfolding drama in the sky is oddly compelling. The Doppler dons have gotten less alarmist than in years past, when they would try to out-Armageddon each other —"You could die if you go outside!"

We recall a time in the early 1990s when downtown Hartford streets and restaurants were empty 24 hours before a storm was due to hit, which caused Mayor Mike Peters to call a couple of news directors and ask them to dial it back. This year, people were out on Thursday night, perhaps anticipating being home on Friday. The main question we had was whether Joe Furey's voice would hold out — our favorite weatherman was beginning to sound like Bill Clinton.

It's winter, it's New England, it snows. We will hunker down and get through it.