Editorial: Snowpocalypse Forecasts End with a Flurry

Editorial: Snowpocalypse Forecasts End with a Flurry

It’s hard to believe in the weather. Or rather, the weather reports, which are so important to so many people, and which have become so elaborate and newsworthy that they seem to be the entity known as “THE WEATHER” itself. This week, that very weather consumed and cut through primetime programming with reckless abandon. We went to bed on Monday night (thankfully, The Bachelor was left intact) haunted by numerous emergency reports and press conferences featuring mayors and governors warning us of impending doom and threatening us with misdemeanors and fines were we to violate the 11 pm roadways curfew. Thousands of flights were cancelled. Images of stranded travelers created an additional sense of dismay and alarm.

It is never a bad idea to stay off the road or out of the air in even much less harsh weather conditions, so we can’t really blame our politicians for trying to keep us safe. If we hadn’t been curfewed, we’d be angered by the traffic backlogs caused by accidents. Better safe than sorry. By Tuesday morning, though, only about half of the predicted snowfall had happened in our neck of the woods, so we waited, nervously peering out the window late into morning, expecting to be greeted with continued or even worsened blizzard conditions. The breaking news weather reports blared through (preferred) scheduled programming such as The Price is Right. Then, the weather gods, or meteorologists as they more logically should be called, began to apologize, the politicos to excuse. It was announced (almost shamefully) that schools would reopen the next morning.

Eventually, the sun came out, and the flurries ended. Children played, and the somewhat rhythmic sound of shovels and snow blowers were pleasant on the quiet suburban streets. At The Forum, we worked from home or ventured out (as instructed by authorities) only to take a few pictures for our wintry photo spread.

Weather reports dictate school closings, evacuations, and transit schedules. A day’s work or more may be missed as a result of incorrect forecasts – and to some families that’s a day’s salary they can’t afford to lose. On the other hand, if predictions come true and we stay off the roads or get out of Dodge, as it were, we may be saving our lives or others’. Anyway, it’s not as though the snow didn’t temporarily debilitate a good part of the Northeast. In Long Island, they got about two feet of snow, and in Boston, it was upwards of that, along with tremendous windgusts. Obviously, snowfall amounts can differ a great deal over short distances. One meteorologist said, somewhat apologetically, that New York was on the “knife edge of the dry side.” Others offered blatant guilt-ridden mea culpas via Twitter.

Is this what we’ve come to expect from our weather gods, er, meteorologists? Aren’t they in the one truly “damned if you do/damned if you don’t” profession, other than, perhaps, politicians?

If you are fortunate enough to be in a position where the snow day didn’t affect your livelihood too detrimentally, we say: celebrate! You had a day off, and the world was coated in white. Your children were out of school; see the day from their eyes. Grab a book, bundle up, or, even better, go outside and make a snowman. How many chances will you get in your lifetime for such folly?


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