The rest of the country can only look on in wonder as the Northeast panics over a snow storm. “Aren’t they used to snow?” We wonder. It snows there all the time. Do a few extra inches really make much difference? They have snow plows, snow scrapers, salt, cinders, snow blowers, and snow shovels galore.
Meanwhile the media goes wild, especially the weather media who, of course, get out in the worst of it to show the nation just how bad it is. “If it is so bad, what are they doing out in it?” We wonder.
Television shows how all the streets are deserted. “Usually this is a busy street,” says the weather reporter, “but today there is a snow emergency in effect and no one is allowed out — er — with the exception of media. This allows the snow plows to do their job and clear the streets,” They assure us as the plow goes around their parked vehicle.
“Speaking of plows, here comes one now,” says the weather reporter, just before being blasted with an avalanche of snow thrown by the snow plow. “Did you get that on camera?” gasps the half-buried reporter before being carried from the scene. Apparently, snow plow drivers get extra points for running down television reporters as this scenario is repeated in more than one instance.
Other reporters play it safe and report further away from main thoroughfares. “This is the week of winter storms,” says the weather channel,” And wind is not taking the day off. We could have a series of storms.” What an astute observation. It is WINTER, isn’t it? Why is snow such a big surprise?
It seems that hardy northerners see what is happened in Charleston and Savannah when the snowstorm hit while everyone was asleep. After making light of the South for not knowing how to deal with snow, it would be just too embarrassing if it happened in New York or Philly. So mayors overreact and call for a State of Emergency, transportation closures, school closures, and business closures.
Weather reporters rise to the occasion. The eye of the nation is on them now. They explain how wind can blow snow and create drifts making snow seem deeper. No kidding. Are we so stupid we don’t know what a snow drift is? They proceed to walk through snow and then onto a drift where they sink in over their knees. Thanks for explaining that. Now go change your socks.
Using such terms as “Bombogeneses,” Experts warn of dire weather, worse than any storm in the past. We hear new terms, such as, “Bomb Cyclone.” Three feet of snow is on the way. “Better to be safe than sorry,” they declare.
After the storm passes, reporters interview the few pedestrians who are outside. Joggers stop to chat. “We are jogging regardless of weather,” one declares, and jogs off down the street only to slip on the icy surface and fall on her bottom. Unless you want to fall on your behind on national TV, maybe jogging on snow is not such a good idea.
Weather people go to the coast where waves whipped up by the wind push ice ashore and do substantial damage to homes and beaches. This proves they were right in at least a couple instances. Funny, we don’t remember them warning of high surf prior to the storm.
“Weather prediction is an imperfect science. Better to be prepared for the worst,” declare the weather people. Oh sure, you are just being cautious. “More snow, more snow coming,” they predict.
No kidding? As I said before, it is WINTER, isn’t it?
Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
*Previously published as Snowmageddon