Storm Warning – Panic and Freak Out

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It is a given that whenever there is heavy snow in the forecast, a significant number of people will freak out and hit the grocery stores to stock up as if they are going to be snowed in for months. Part of the blame is on the weather forecasters. People forget that ratings matter more than anything else and nothing drives eyeballs to the screens faster than hinting about a big snow coming soon.

I get the whole “be aware” thing but all of the models have a lot of uncertainty in them so when you start reporting early in the week, there is a range of possible outcomes but it seems like they choose to focus on the worst-case scenario. Again, if you hype what is coming, then people are more likely to watch all future broadcasts just to stay informed.

But we’ve gone from a potential historic blizzard to a more normal heavy snow. This one will be complicated by the winds and the temperature drop. We typically get at least one big snowstorm over the winter and the roads are almost always cleared within a day after the snow stops. So it isn’t like you are going to be snowed in for weeks.

Yesterday, we went out to get some coffee and the coffee place is in the same strip mall as a grocery store and the parking lot was full. This was in the middle of the day on a Wednesday which one assumes is not a peak shopping time. I actually needed butter, so I went down there this morning and large sections were empty. There was almost no produce, and they were low on bottled water and I saw a few people waiting for store people to restock the bread. Crazy.

I mean have you ever heard of someone starving in their home because of a winter storm. “This just in to our Action News Team, a family was found dead in their home a day after a big snow. They didn’t stock in enough bread and milk to survive the winter onslaught.” Nope, that never happens.

I will say that I hated days like this when I used to work. Nothing worse than going to work and knowing that your evening drive home could become a real slog. As a boss, I would let people leave early if things started to go south – especially those with long commutes. Hope there are others who feel the same way today because I do feel for anyone who gets trapped in the evening snow because someone thought work was too important to miss.

True. Until it starts, it is just hype.

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