Thursday, February 01, 2007

Let It Snow

The news about weather in DC and Virginia may be the stupidest weather in the country. The problem is that there has been no weather to report, so tonight they reported on the fact that there won’t be any snow, but because they said there would be snow they might cancel school anyway. How much dumber can you get? I mean they spent the first five minutes of the news talking to the Superintendent of schools about the fact that they had cancelled school because of the impending one inch of whatever—it doesn’t take much—and now they were in a quandary about what to do. They would just have to wait and see. ARE THEY KIDDING?! There isn’t going to be any snow so there will be school. It is just that simple.

I remember the first snow after we moved to Washington. It couldn’t have been more than two inches. I had been living in Boston for thirteen years and when it snowed the plows magically appeared and removed all the white stuff. This was not the case in DC. It snowed and the snow stayed on the road and on the sidewalks and in every yard until it melted. Sometimes that was the next day and sometimes it wasn’t until Spring. They operated on the God giveth and God taketh away, principle of snow removal.

I asked some neighbors if a snow storm was unusual. “No”, they said, “It snows a couple of times a year and sometimes it’s a good amount. But they never seem to be prepared. Maybe they don’t have enough equipment.” I didn’t bother to ask why they didn’t have enough equipment because it seemed too ridiculous. I could not imagine that the entire U.S. Government would close because there was no snow removal—but that’s what happened almost thirty years ago and it’s what happens now. I remember listening to the reports that only critical U.S. Government personnel needed to report to work. Of course, I thought I was critical so I made my way all the way from Capital Hill to the State Department. There were about ten people who also though they were critical. And you know how we spent the day? Answering phones. Thee were no secretaries – the most critical people—and the rest of the world was still doing business. so I spent thirteen hours at my desk merely taking messages.

It begins with the first inkling of a storm. The TV weathermen appear every five or ten minutes to report that there will be weather. They seem delighted just to have something to say. Everyone rushes to the supermarket to buy milk, eggs and water. I mean you cannot find an egg within a ten mile radius of the city once there has been a storm warning. The city is paralyzed by the mere thought of weather. Then it snows or it might just be a heavy rain—the type of weather doesn’t matter. People become deranged. They can’t drive, or walk or do anything but obsess about the weather.

One year it snowed about three feet. The Mayor was in Florida and so he didn’t care. But people couldn’t even get out of their houses. The plows only plowed the street where there were VIP’s. We were lucky because a White House senior aide lived on our block so they plowed the street and the alley. But it didn’t matter since once you drove off our street,, all the other streets were impassable.

I’m listening to what sounds like sleet on my skylight. I have a doctors appointment at 9:20am and I though it was going to be an easy commute—since there would be no school, no work, and no snow. But now I don’t know. Maybe I should cancel my appointment and tuff it out with the uncritical personnel. I guess I, like the schoolboard, will just have to wait and see. We’re just sayin...


Walt said...

A friend from junior high school (that's right from New Jersey) is a meteorologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (As if the atmosphere can be administered - HA!).

His Master Degree in Meteorology is from Rutgars University. Most importantly his undergraduate degree is in Philosophy from Notre Dame.

Mark predicts the weather for the airlines. He's worked many areas of the country.

He tells me the hardest region to predict the weather in the United States is right here in the Mid-Atlantic. Washington DC being the bullseye. Why?

This area is a mixing bowl, not unlike the Springfield mixing bowl on I-95 and the Beltway. The mixing of northern air and southern air is very volatile. A slight change of temperature can mean the difference of a little winter rain, or 3 feet of snow.

Hard to predict.

Mark has some of the most accurate super-computer modeling at his workstation. He says he can predict the weather for only the next 6 hours. That's it. He doesn't understand how the weather talkers on TV can predict the weather on a 5-day long range forecast!

That said, the people of Washington DC are complete idiots when it comes to snow, and heavy rain in the non-winter months.

Where is Mayor-for-life Barry when we need him!

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd comment on the different ways the gov handles the wx southward(no lie)At the inkiling of a slight trace of sleet, the powers that be in central La. WILL shut down the bridges!That's even with salt and sand available..I've been in all types of environs all over the place, and that always give me pause to chuckle..

Anonymous said...

Almost forgot to ask how db was doing. Hop okay.