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French Toast Alert System

* French Toast Alert Level: 5 Slices/Severe. Explanation.

Update, 5:30 p.m., 1/27: Now it's Go Time. Harv is calling for 2+ feet of snow across the Greater French Toast Area, high winds, the whole shebang. And as the National Weather Service says, this storm will bombo its genesis so hard it could form an eye. So clear out the trunk, get yourself to the store and give other shoppers the long stare as you head straight for the milk, bread and eggs (and syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg, just in case).

I mean, just look at him:

Harvey Leonard with red splotches on map

Update, 4:30 p.m, 1/27: The NWS has upped its snow totals for the South Shore, says the bombogenesis could be so strong the storm might briefly develop an eye (which will no doubt cast a baleful glare down on us), but says 36 inches for the South Shore is not out of the question. Here in the more immediate Greater French Toast Area, we're still forecast for, um, just 12-18 inches. But, oh, yeah, and wind:

With the winds gusting over 50 to 60 mph and temps well below freezing, stay off the roads on Saturday if possible.

So now would be a very good time to head to the store to stock up on all the fixins.

Update, 11:30 a.m., 1/27: Welp. The Weather Channel's doyen of devastation, Jim Cantore, confirms our decision to go to 4 Slices: He's shipping up to Boston to ride out the storm. Does that mean thundersnow?

Update, 11:10 p.m., 1/26: Harv: Potential storm not just "big" but "impactful." Not ruling out 2 feet in southeast MA. But still uncertain track, he cautions.

Update, 5:10 p.m., 1/26: It's getting closer to Go Time: Although the National Weather Service says "all options are still on the table," including the storm moving further east and turning into a "grazer" for the Greater French Toast Area (and the rest of coastal Massachusetts and even Rhode Island), they've also issued a Winter Storm Watch for the GFTA and posted the above map. Plus high winds that could snap trees like match sticks and make travel durn near impossible at times. You know what to do and what to get (and don't forget the nutmeg, if you swing that way). You still have plenty of time, though, so no need to risk a ticket getting to and from the store, at least not tonight or tomorrow. And if it turns out this turns into a snor'easter, well, you can still make French Toast, so it's win-win.

Update, 9:30 a.m., 1/26: The National Weather Service says, "guidance indicates potential for this storm to undergo bombogenesis, meaning its central pressure drops at least 24 mb in 24 hours. This creates a very tight pressure gradient, meaning strong, potentially damaging winds will accompany the snow." And look at what Matt Noyes says. Got enough gas for a trip to the store tomorrow or early Friday?

Update, 9 a.m., 1/25: The normally cautious forecasters at the National Weather Service have been bracing us for a couple days now on the possibility of an "impactful winter storm" Friday into Saturday. But now they've added a mention of the dreaded 70/40 benchmark, a point in the ocean due south of the Cape over which all the best, um, worst, nor'easters pass. And the Washington Post is talking up the potential for a bomb cyclone, you know, BOMBOGENESIS BABY! And we're getting e-mail asking us why are we still just at Two Slices. OK, one e-mail, but still.

Or the whole thing could just blow out to sea. But that's looking less likely, the question might be more whether we get tons of snow or rain with our driving winds and our coastal flooding here in the Greater French Toast Area, so what choice do we have, really, but to raise the alert to Three Slices/Elevated? You still have time to top off your durable supplies, your syrup and cinnamon, and you probably want to wait a day or two to rush out for the more perishable milk, eggs and toast, but time to start making space in the pantry and refrigerator. Just in case.

The French Toast Alert System has been developed in consultation with local and federal emergency officials to help you determine when to panic and rush to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread.

1 Slice / Low: No storm predicted. Harvey Leonard sighs and looks dour on the evening news. Go about your daily business but consider buying second refrigerator for basement, diesel generator. Good time to replenish stocks of maple syrup, cinnamon.

2 Slices / Guarded: Light snow predicted. Subtle grin appears on Harvey Leonard's face. Check car fuel gauge, memorize quickest route to emergency supermarket should conditions change.

3 Slices / Elevated: Moderate, plowable snow predicted. Harvey Leonard openly smiles during report. Empty your trunk to make room for milk, eggs and bread. Clear space in refrigerator and head to store for an extra gallon of milk, a spare dozen eggs and a new loaf of bread.

4 Slices / High: Heavy snow predicted. Harvey Leonard breaks into huge grin, can't keep his hands off the weather map. Proceed at speed limit before snow starts to nearest supermarket to pick up two gallons of milk, a couple dozen eggs and two loaves of bread - per person in household.

5 Slices / Severe: Nor'easter predicted. This is it, people, THE BIG ONE. Harvey Leonard makes repeated references to the Blizzard of '78. RUSH to emergency supermarket NOW for multiple gallons of milk, cartons of eggs and loaves of bread. IGNORE cries of little old lady you've just trampled in mad rush to get last gallon of milk. Place pets in basement for use as emergency food supply if needed.

Busy person? Follow the French Toast Alert System on Twitter or on Facebook; stay up to the moment with the proper panic level.

Busy developer type person? Use the French Toast Alert data set to build those state-of-the-art iPhone apps.

Put the French Toast Alert System on your site! Copy and paste the following where you want the alert to show up. It's 124 pixels wide by 126 pixels high:

<script src="https://www.universalhub.com/frenchtoast.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Become the alert: Buy an official French Toast Alert T-shirt and run around updating your neighbors:

Boston French Toast Alert System shirt
Get this custom shirt at Zazzle

Toastaphon: Toast image derived from this French Toast sammich photo by Bunchofpants.


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


I would buy them for everyone if they existed! I swear!!

What a great idea! Let me investigate.

Will that t-shirt make my butt look bigger?

You eat it with lots of butter and syrup.

I know for SURE your butt will look bigger if you have been eating all that French Toast! What they heck - go for it!!

The T-Shirt has a red logo that says elevated, but elevated on the chart is yellow. I would want a severe logo on the front with the whole chart explanation on the back.

... I'd hire a copy editor.

Changed on the link above. If you bought one of the "Elevated" shirts and want the real "Severe" shirt, e-mail me and I'll get you the right ones.

Adam Gaffin:

Perhaps, I can help?

I am a proofreader of web pages; checking spelling, grammar, links and anything that looks "strange." I am technically not a copy editor because I don't have the skills to edit hard copy lay-outs.

I do have a reference whose e-mail I will be glad to give you in private email.

On your contact page I couldn't find a way to join without installing MS Outlook which I didn't wish to do.

Diane Lee

is just a e-mail link. It doesn't have anything to do with MS Outlook.

But-but-but... if you have Outlook on your computer, and alot of PCs do, it automatically opens up a Compose screen in Outlook. If you haven't set up Outlook, it'll make you set that up first.

I'm not sure about other web-browsers, but in Chrome, you can right-click and "Copy e-mail address" (even without highlighting the link!). Then paste it in your To field.

you can't figure out that you can copy a mailto: link rather than clicking through for it to open Outlook, you have no business copy editing web pages!

You had all kinds of funny brackets all over the place. What a mess! I just cleaned that all up for you. You should see if you have a few stuck keys on your typewriter.



So how do I get mine??

Avi W.

Oh yes, those are just wonderful! Make 'em Make 'em! I do remember french toast as an evening meal, probably Saturday or Sundays, because Fridays were Beans and Franks (unless we had some extra cash, then we got some steak). Or has it been so long that I've been away and I've got Friday's and Saturday's meals mixed up?

Hey Knitnzu - you got em mixed up if you grew up Catholic - no meat on Fridays, remember?

We call that supper breakfast.

Finally, an alert system that actually MEANS something. Now this is a system I can wrap my fork around.

The beauty of the french toast system is that the three necessary and sufficient ingredients are bread, milk, and eggs: the three perishables that always disappear when snow is announced. If anything, it should somehow also tie-in with toilet paper...the one non-food perishable that disappears just as fast when bad weather is on the way.

As Chris Crocker would tell us:

LOL, wonderful shirts. What a great idea!


Dave C.

You know, I was just thinking - shouldn't it be "Freedom Toast"?

I had the same thought a few days ago.

Sidenote: jeez, Adam's been laid off barely a day and the slacking has already started :) We're currently at "green", but "elevated".

I was caught at Roche Bros in W Roxbury during a rush on the French Toast section, so many people that they brought in palettes of eggs and just left them in the middle of the milk area.

Also that Roche Bros in W Roxbury harbors a mysterious virus that makes you age 6 months for every minute you're in there, like that episode of Star Trek, so there were a lot of confused and desperate people in dairy.

So I would really appreciate getting the Alert by email.

Another one? That's three this week!

No kidding, needs to cool down a bit!

screw leondard, dick albert is the man!
No joke
...besides adam!

Can you fix the alert system so that the delicious french toast isn't tainted by the alert level color?

This is too funny. I'm a retail manager, and you should see the idiots go crazy when snow is predicted. My personal favorite as a drug store manager were: the emergency condoms.

I've been seeing snowflakes since around 3 or so.

We really need a Facebook craplet for French Toast Alert status.

Anyone care to toss one together?

Yeah, I want this as a FB app, so it can sit as a box on my page.

So, I use Windows Vista... and Google Desktop. I'd really think it was neat to have a sidebar widget for French Toast alerts...

I must say the french toast alert system is funny. I currently live just out side of Washington, DC & trust me when I say, these people don't know how to drive in good weather. When that 4 letter word (snow) is put in the forecast. They go from "green" to "RED ALERT". There is nothing else to consider for these people. Example, this past Dec. we got about 18" of snow. These people that have cars with about 4 to 6" of clearance are out driving & are getting stuck & they can not understand why. DUH!

Can the French Toast Alert system be applied to Hurricanes? Earl is on the way!

It's something that should be looked into.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..as a dj of "no repute" on a public station in NJ (wdvrfm.org on the web I have been announcing french toast alerts for about 10 years...but i love your t-shirt and am a proud owner of one (gift from my Boston based daughters)

I guess great minds think along the same lines...have a great day...enjoy the french toast this afternoon!

Studebaker Hawk(tm)

at least to elevated!

Don't forget to fill the bathtub with water too!

Adam! I mentioned on FB that we've had 7 storms already (per channel 5). A friend of mine (who lives in the Caribbean I might add) suggested that we start naming the storms like they do for hurricanes. Instead of the boy girl names, you could use breakfast dishes (French Toast is obviously already being used). Blueberry Pancakes; Blintzes; Scrambled Eggs. You could make up a new list each fall.

If there's a "Blizzard of '78" type storm, that name can be retired. What do you think?

on December 26, January 11-12, January 20-21, and January 26-27

There were a few in there that only dropped a dusting or an inch or two that you don't have listed. I'm guessing they're counting those too.

This year is very reminiscent of '78, with large January snowfalls leading up to a potential early February biggie.

(click for bigger)

Anybody notice what's wrong with this picture?

Clicking for bigger doesn't make it bigger?

Really? Sorry. It does for me unless I have a zoom level > 100% on my browser. In any case, what I was looking for was the fact that the caption says 128 in Dedham when it's actually Canton looking towards Westwood.

At first, I thought this was a thread about a new breakfast place. Now that I "get it" I am literally laughing my hiney off. Maybe I've been inside for way too long....

that's wildly different from the 1-2" NWS is calling

Instead, look at the latest Winter Storm Watch:



... for me, at least. And the only winter storm watch I could find on the NOAA site was for Alaska.

Snow blower started, first pull , didnt have to plug in the electric starter, plenty of firewood, have direct deposit , let it snow !

this site has been the absolutely best thing about a rather dreadful Boston winter. I laugh every time I open it up

I think that the reason the NWS in Taunton likes to highlight Orange is because it is near the northern and western extreme of the WFO Taunton County Watch Area (CWA) and it has an airport that more or less regularly reports weather conditions. The airport in North Adams (Harriman and West) is within the NWS Albany CWA.

They would probably talk more about Keene, but it's Keene, in New Hampshire, and therefore "up there" or "in ski country" so far as most of the WFO Taunton audience is concerned.

On Gallivan Blvd it is snowing quite hard out right now!

Adam, why isn't there an 'Extreme' or 'XTREEEEME!' level to this warning system

Predictions of above freezing weather on day 7 are not probable!

We want Green! Take the level down.

It's sunny today, and all I see ahead is more sunshine and more rain.

As of right now, Sunday 12/27 at 8 am, the page you linked to says:

No Active Hazardous Weather Conditions
issued by NWS Roxbury MA

THERE IS BIG BUST POTENTIAL for this storm for Boston

Does 'bust" mean "disappointingly small storm" ?


How many rolls of toilet paper should I buy for each level of alerts?

but it never gets any funnier.

I support french toast in the summer!

I have the alert posted on my desk, and keep it updated during those horrific weather times.

What about using French Toast doneness colors instead of the green, blue, yellow etc colors? So you could have French toast colors from practically raw to practically burnt with golden brown being in the middle? Love this site. Keep it up!

          ( and half a snowstorm is not better than none! )

Down here in the South we have what's called the Waffle House Index. Waffle Houses NEVER CLOSE, PERIOD. The Index condition states that if the weather or disaster is severe enough that the local Waffle House decides to close, WE'RE ALL DOOMED. It's armageddon.

Sheesh - this guy http://frenchtoastalert.com/

There will be NO SPRING in 2018. Summer may be shorter too. Already 2018 is competing with '15 and '78 in overall snowfall during the winter, using the standard that it's not over until the snow is completely gone and no more snowstorms are in the forecast. The calendar is meaningless. And yes, this incoming storm as of 3/12/18 is going to stick. Why? When the storms come, the temperature drops low enough for it to stick, and won't rebound for at least a week, assuming there isn't another storm within that week, which is a very low probability. All we can do is hope it ends by June 21 (the ACTUAL beginning of summer, only corporations use Memorial Day for that). Yes, I did say the calendar doesn't matter, but that's only for determining the start of a non-existent season. tl, dr: Just another rant about the awful winters here and the fact that I can't move out. And I have the First Amendment right to complain.

But it appears that she's been brought on part-time with a shifting schedule, like a fast food worker.

...getting the storms we're supposed to see a month ago.
Happy spring equinox?


Can you confirm if the French Toast Dataset is uptodate? It usually just says "Guarded" and the last time it appears to be updated (change of french toast alert status) was around March 13.

The xml or js file? If so, maybe there's a problem I need to look into, because the actual Alert has changed several times in that time period.

Sorry for the delay, just saw this. I meant the xml file.

http://www.universalhub.com/toast.xml says


but this page says "Guarded"

It seems like we get at least 1 major Nor'Easter each Winter. Sometimes multiple. Therefore, I propose a new benchmark, when the City of Boston is absolutely crippled and can't easily withstand another blow. Think February 2015. March 2018 also flirted with this, though there was enough time/melting between storms to recover:

6+ Slices: EXTREME. Multiple Category 4-5 events in a short period of time with another one scheduled to hit... imminently. Harvey Leonard appears genuinely terrified, making multiple references to the Feb 2015 Snow Blitz, widespread Power Outages and the National Guard. Supermarkets are long barren & the MBTA has been out of service for weeks. If you don't already have a stockpile of bread, eggs, milk & emergency rations to last until May, consider evacuating to somewhere warmer, where your survival skills will come in handy when a mere dusting shuts down the area. THIS IS NOT A DRILL, PEOPLE. WE'RE PRETTY MUCH F*CKED.

7 Slices: The Boston Yeti is reading the weather, after saying that Harvey Leonard is currently under sedation. Things are about to get really funky.

Latest update should be "1/17" not "11/17"

I want the whole set!

Need to send out a tweet announcing the arrival of the 2019-20 season...