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Breaking into Snow Business

This winter has certainly been more severe, and cold than the last few we have experienced. Many seem to be getting tired of dealing with the snow, and the frigid temperatures. I can understand the need for a little relief from this winter onslaught. I too am growing tired of the cold and the Artic Vortex, and I am also weary of taking my car through the car wash to remove the salt and grime from the treated roadways.  My car is more a combination pretzel/saltine right now than it is a motor vehicle. I have parked my car in the driveway, and animals came up thinking it was a salt lick.

I sat two weekends ago at the car wash for forty-five minutes just to get my car through the washing stage of the process. It was the Saturday we reached sixty degrees, so I guess everyone else wanted to rid their vehicles of the layer of salt, while they could enjoy the feeling of spring.

I didn’t mind that I was at the car wash for an hour, because I left with a shiny, salt-free automobile. I felt proud of my car – glistening in the sunshine. I felt like I could glide down the highway with a much better level of aerodynamics than when I was covered in sodium chloride. What I did mind, was that three days later my car was once again splattered and coated with all the crap that they put on the roads in the winter. We had a brief snow squall, and once again the roads were a milky residue of water and salt.

I really don’t mind the snow; it is all the extraneous stuff that goes along with it. Anyone who has grownup in the Northeast should be acclimated to the winter weather. We have always had snow, to some degree, throughout the years. It is not some new phenomenon, which has suddenly sprung upon us due to climate change. 

Growing up in South Jersey, there were times when we would have snow around for days. I remember sledding in the street, building snow forts, and tramping to school like Ralphie’s brother in “A Christmas Story.” We just dealt with it, even with tire snow chains, which were a product of the pre-road salting era. In my neighborhood everyone walked to school, so we struggled into our boots and woolen coats, and went to class. I still remember the smell of wet wool wafting from the cloakroom. We had a few snow days, but not that many.

We seemed to be a much more resilient and sturdier lot then. The weathermen on the news would predict that we were going to have a snowstorm, and we pretty much waited it out, and then handled it. We didn’t get days of advanced notice. There was no weather channel giving us twenty-four hours of temperatures, humidity and barometric pressure. You stuck your head outside and looked at the thermometer, and eyed the current conditions.

Now we have Doppler Radar, Storm Tracker, computer models and weather hype out the wazoo. For all the new technology, and supposed advances in weather forecasting, they still have problems getting it right with their predictions. The more information we have, the more we become over-sensitized to the weather, and its effect on our daily routine.

We know weeks in advance of a pending storm, and we get to watch it move in our direction, with bold graphics and vibrant colors. It is all so dramatic, and all so useless. I don’t know how many times we have been told to batten down the hatches, head for shelter, lock up and stay safe from the impending storm only for it to fizzle out in the last twenty-four hours, before reaching us.

Stop over educating us on weather facts that aren’t relevant and aren’t going to really impact us.  I don’t want hear days in advance, that we are getting over fourteen inches of snow, only to hear when the storm arrives to expect a coating. Evidently, all the new gadgets are not so accurate. So, wait until the storm gets here, and then tell me what to expect. Every time a cloud farts a snowflake, I don’t need to know about it.

It is the over sensationalized media that brings us the “Super Weather Coverage.” All the fancy 3D maps are attractive, but please stop trying to impress us with smoke and mirrors. I just need the real facts. I guess they need to justify their Doppler technology, by giving us the latest forecast fifty times a day. Overkill us with the minute-by-minute coverage of the storm, so we can know what parking lot is being plowed. I know, I sure rest easier at night, knowing that the snow has been cleared from the King of Prussia Mall lot.

Growing up, the weather was a brief segment on the news. During a snowstorm there might be a bit more attention given during the broadcast, but it didn’t become a daylong event. Daytime TV wasn’t preempted for the “Snow Bowl.” There weren’t fifty correspondents at every intersection and mall in the tri-state area reporting on the falling flakes.  

Now, we have non-stop coverage of a snowstorm. It has become a special event that the news people think we need to follow like an approaching tsunami. It does not need to be treated like radioactive fallout – it is just snow, and it will melt. I can live without the sense of impending doom you wish to purvey. What use to be just a snowstorm is now called a “Weather Event.”  I literally cannot watch another on-the-scene correspondent pull out their special News Station Ruler, to measure how much snow has fallen. This is weather reporting at its most sophisticated.

Breaking news becomes a press conference where we find out that the storm command center is open, and plows are working around the clock. While I really appreciate the Municipal road crews, and the fact that someone is paying attention to the power grids. I don’t need to be privy to the minutiae of local government’s handling of the snow.  Unless the Polar Ice Caps are moving into my neighborhood, I will survive the storm without the endless video feeds of trivial information.

The media has over-hyped everything including the weather, and they repeat it as if it needs to be drilled into our slow learning heads. While, I will certainly admit that there are a lot of dummies out there, (all visitors to my blog excluded) people who are not aware of the real world, we are not all members of the Tea Party or think that Sarah Palin is an intelligent politician.

Just as there are now High Definition (HD) channels on our televisions for enhanced clarity of our entertainment viewing, perhaps there should be Super Dummy (SD) channels for those who need to hear the same news facts repeated over and over again, ad nauseam.  I don’t even live in Philadelphia, but I realize that during a snow emergency you can’t park on a street designated as a Snow Route. Yet, every “Weather Event” we are reminded of this fact, and are shown cars being towed from these roads during the non-stop coverage.

It is like we are five years old and, we are being put through a non-stop fire drill at school. If you can’t figure out the procedure, and where the emergency exits are in the first few drills, it just means you are going to be a charcoal briquette if the school ever does catch fire.  For those of us who get it, we don’t need to be taken down that incendiary path numerous times.

The last time I checked my calendar it was 2014, and we have much more advanced snow removal methods than in 1914. Even if we are hit with a snowfall of several feet, the major highways are normally clear within hours. Many people own and drive SUV’s, or some type of 4-Wheel Drive vehicles, and we aren’t going to be trapped in Donner Pass. I guess this is why I still don’t understand the “let’s rush to the Super Market and buy all the groceries before the snow starts” phenomenon.

If you are Appalachian Annie and you live in some remote location, and Ike Godsey’s General Store will be closed due to snow, then perhaps you should stock up on a few essentials. In that case, you have a Hall Pass to go buy some groceries before the storm. On the other hand, if you live in Suburbia and you are racing to Shop Rite to stock up like a Survivalist for the end of times, you need to dig deep and find some common sense, and perhaps a therapist.

Visit any grocery store right before the beginning of a “Snow Event,” and you will find the aisles mobbed with shoppers filling their carts with food like they are going to be trapped inside their homes for weeks. Unless a glacier is going to be blocking the super market entrance when the snow stops falling, I don’t need to overfill my pantry with food that I won’t be eating within twenty-four hours.

Also, are there secret Hot Chocolate and Toast Societies, which I have never been made privy to? The first thing to sell out in the Super Market is bread and milk, and I never quite understood the reason. Does anyone really go through that much bread and milk in the course of a day? We have become weather wimps, and we need to grow a pair of snowballs and get over it.

You aren’t trapped miles from civilization, where you are going to starve. In fact, shouldn’t you already have food in your house prior to the snow prediction? Even if you couldn’t get out of your house, most Super Markets today deliver to your door. There is no need to panic and horde food, every time it snows. That might have been appropriate at the turn of the century, but there is no excuse for it now. It is just a knee jerk reaction to the over dramatized weather predictions.

You either live in Suburbia or the City, and there are fresh supplies arriving everyday to your grocery stores.  I can pretty much assure you that you won’t be forced to shoot a squirrel for survival during the snowy weather. Your “Little House on the Prairie” is probably within walking distance of some type of minimart or convenience store.  Why overstock anyway? You could lose power, and then you are forced to drink that curdled milk you were so desperate to purchase. Then you are making a trip to the ER.

Just realize that you made it through this winter, and spring is on its way this month. We live in a geographic area that experiences the change of seasons. So don’t be surprised when winter brings it cold, snowy weather again. Learn to turn off the over dramatized monologue’s of the “Mega Weather” reporters. Remember it is all a prediction based on computer models and weather patterns. It is humans trying to conquer nature. So far it appears that nature is usually winning, although don’t tell the Weathermen.


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