When I woke up this morning and looked out the window at the brown grass on my lawn, my first thought was, "Here we go again with the fear mongering." And then I started to think about how we could very well find ourselves in a serious weather situation one day and some might not take it seriously because things have a way of being blown out of proportion.

For the past few days, we've been hearing rumblings about a winter storm that could cripple much of the East coast. We've heard varying amounts of anticipated snowfall. We've been told to have flashlights and water handy. Well, it looks like this time, the hype is warranted.

Winter Storm Riley has begun pounding on the central region of New York and if forecasters are right, she could turn into one of the biggest nor'easter storms that we've seen in years. On Thursday night, the National Weather Service predicted, "A potent storm system will develop off the East Coast this evening, bringing a range of hazards to portions of the northeastern US: damaging winds, coastal flooding, heavy rain and winter weather."

It's not just forecasters issuing warnings. The Department of Homeland Security is recommending to stock up on enough supplies for three days. They also urge people to form a family connection plan and to make sure that your electronics are charged and that you've got backup batteries handy.

The reason that Winter Storm Riley has forecasters keeping an extra close eye on things is that she is expected to bring about a foot of snow to the central part of New York and what's more is that the snow will be wet and heavy and that could lead to a massive number of down trees and power lines.

On Friday morning, the National Weather Service increased the estimated snowfall totals to between 8 and 12 inches for the Southern Tier area, and warns that residents should be prepared for "sustained winds 20-30 mph" with "gusts 40-50 mph."

It appears that NYSEG is also bracing for the possibility of widespread power outages. On their Facebook page, NYSEG suggests that "NYSEG & RG&E customers should keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and non-perishable foods. Also make sure that smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are fully charged."

Winter Storm Riley has also impacted flight schedules as more than 1,500 flights out of US airports have been canceled. According to CNN, "Several airlines, including Delta, United and Southwest, are offering fee waivers for flight cancellations or changes involving airports in affected cities."

To give you an idea of how varied the estimated snowfall totals are, the National Weather Service predicts the Southern Tier will get somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow. AccuWeather is predicting totals closer to 9 to 16 inches by Saturday morning, and Intellicast predicts 5 to 8 inches of snow by the time Saturday morning arrives. This tells us that we definitely will get a decent amount of snow, but the exact total really is a guess at this point.

[via National Weather Service/Department of Homeland Security/NYSEG/CNN/AccuWeather/Intellicast]