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It’s a law of nature every bit as ironclad as a Noreaster: People are descending on milk supplies right now throughout the Washington region, thanks to the forecast.

Just after the SNOMG of Dec. 19, for instance, I alighted on my local grocery. I didn’t need milk at the time, which was a good thing. None was there. Sure, had I needed to bake some muffins, there was perhaps a bottle or two of buttermilk there for me. There may have been some heavy cream, too, just in case I was in the mood for a creamy pasta sauce or a rich cup of coffee.

But mainstream milk? Like whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, or fat-free? That was going to have to wait for the next shipment.

Why do people get a case of lactic incompetence when snow falls on the forecast? Well, don’t blame snowstorm preparation web sites.

Start with ehow.com. Under its advice on getting ready for a winter storm, it advocates keeping nonperishable things in the house, in case of a power outage, along with other sensible, goes-without-saying precautions like bringing in outdoor patio furniture that’s not terribly durable and stocking up on rock salt (no way!) and having a radio around. No mention of the centrality of milk hoarding.

Likewise, chiff.com’s Top Ten Blizzard tips belabor the obvious—-“stay inside,” “Traveling in a blizzard is just not a good idea,” Designate a spot, in the hall closet, to keep a bag of warm clothes—-and totally dis liquid milk. The only mention of this staple, in fact, is its powdered form.

So why will it be no problem finding powdered milk at Safeway tomorrow morning but a huge coup to score a half-gallon of 2 percent?

Photo by Muffet, Creative Commons Attribution License