Wednesday, February 2, 2011


OMfsm, it's the Snowpocalypse!! Again. Or not. Personally, I prefer SNHURRTASTROPACALYSE. SNOWPOCALYPSE NOW is good, too. Or SNOWMAGGEDON! Or SNOWDEPENDENCE DAY! Or DEEP SNOWPACT! Thanks to Sarah Smart for that cold-medicine-inspired bit of brilliance, and no thanks to the media for feeding an ever-hungry public the fodder for yet another snowpanic.

Let's get one thing clear: Short-term weather prediction is a notoriously complex and thankless job. So when the meteorologists predict snow and we just get some rain, or when the public's interpretation of their words imply doom and indicate that panic is the only option and then the storm blows through (again), we must remain calm and try to refrain from the all-to-easy blame-the-weatherman rhetoric.
It is far better to be prepared for a storm that does not come than to be surprised by a storm that was not predicted or was not expected to be so violent as it got.
We are grownups. We have to use common sense. Yes, over-prediction of terrible storms risks making people complacent and falls into the crying wolf category, but how much worse if the news did NOT broadcast anything about the weather? Farmers would not cover their crops and protect their flocks, drivers would not know they might need snow tires or chains, kids would not wear scarves and boots (okay, who are we kidding, kids never wear scarves anyway), people might not fill their gas tanks or have extra food stored in their basements.

The concern of crying wolf is valid, but people need to use their brains. I suppose the anger directed at meteorologists and the resentment of panicky people can directly be traced to a lack of critical thinking in people as a whole.

Remember, this storm was pretty terrible everywhere else that it hit, just not here in Monroe County, and every indication was that it would clobber us like it clobbered everyone else. Would you prefer they not warn us at all and leave us to guess when the next blizzard will bluster by? Or should we perhaps pay attention to the warnings and take what precautions we feel are necessary and appropriate, and then take responsibility for those actions ourselves once the storm has passed -or not manifested- ?

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals. And you know it. So it's up to you to be smart. Don't be a sheople, but be aware of your surroundings, and try not to blame everything on the weathermen or the government or the media or the vitriol. Sometimes words do incite violence, sometimes preparedness is for naught, but sometimes (most times) we are responsible for ourselves and would do well to remember that.

Come on, kids, get over it. So, the storm blew through lighter than expected? That's a GOOD thing. Better to over-prepare than under-prepare. Watch the radar, wear your boots, get your flu shot, find your snow brush and roll with it.

Happy Imbolc.

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