Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 2015 New York Blizzard - Stop Kvetching

Photo: Theodore Parisienne for The New York Daily News.
Copyright © 2015 Theodore Parisienne & The New York Daily News. All Rights Reserved.

I don't know why I'm weighing in on this, but... So many people are "kvetching" about the apparent, so far, under-prediction of snow/the effects of what, yesterday and today (January 26/27, 2015), could have been an historic blizzard, specifically on New York City (all boroughs). We are not taking into account the fact that our fellow New Yorkers on Long Island got hit pretty terribly by the storm, and that the storm started "moving" last night -- all of the forecasters were talking about it -- and it dumped a lot more snow, and created severe wind conditions in other parts of the Northeast US. (E.g. Boston was slammed, with very high snow accumulations.)

We're also not taking into account that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut state and local agencies addressed the forecast with a decisive, smooth, well-communicated plan for keeping the people, the residences, the vehicles, the businesses and other institutions, etc., safe in and around our/those locations. Was it an "overreaction?" Were "politics" involved? Did forecasters even, possibly, "spin" -- no pun intended -- the weather as is the current lot of "news-vo-tainment?" Probably, to a degree. Are our big, New York (especially) egos "hurt" (boo $%^&!#$ hoo!) that "they" -- whomever "they" are -- supposedly "lied" to us about the weather and curtailed our personal and professional activities and plans? Yes.

I've lived in New York City (Manhattan), in the same neighborhood, on the same block, for five decades. "Tough New Yorkers" (and New Jersey and Connecticut -ers) always have/will always be right to both very much trust and very much distrust all of the forces involved in predicting, and responding to, potentially severe weather conditions. But, I confess, the smart-@$$ed comments, even from thoughtful people, about preparedness for situations like this, often infuriate me. For elderly and infirmed people -- some of whom DO NOT have "help" from more able people to address their living needs -- snowfall and accumulations, and wind and cold, of the current, less-than-expected proportions are already dangerous. For young children heading to school -- not everyone (families--parents/guardians, children) in the boroughs or surrounding areas have/has easy access to transportation, and, again, just the lower-predicted snow/other related weather conditions can be/are challenging for them. ("Oh, any kid can get on a bus, a subway, a school bus, or their families can escort, or drive, them to school or other needed programs." NO, not true. It sounds like what Bloomberg said during the NY blackout -- "oh, they can ride bicycles." Well, before Citi Bike, were you going to BUY THEM a bicycle, Mr. evil $%^& former (super-billionaire) Mayor, were YOU going to supply them to all adults and children? Were YOU going to ensure training for everyone on riding a bicycle in time for them to safely -- in the $%^&!@# dark! -- travel the streets of New York, or in the other Boroughs? Were YOU going to get disabled, or otherwise infirmed, parents/guardians and children safely to school, to the doctor's/nurse's office, to other appointments, on their bicycles?????? PLEASE!)

I remember a friend having posted on Facebook that he was "sitting on his fire escape" just before Hurricane Sandy hit the area, "waiting for this fake-@$$ storm to start. It better start, or $%^& you to these weather people and officials!" Then, the storm came, and he got what he wished for--the entire lower Manhattan power grid down for several days, and catastrophic destruction to the area of historic proportions.

Someone on FB wrote yesterday something to the effect of (I'm paraphrasing) "I was here for the Blizzard of 2010, this is nothing." Followed by another, typical rant about the ineffectiveness of the reporting/forecasting/administration's (probable over-) planning. Well, not to sound personally egotistical, but just providing historic perspective, I was here, in Manhattan, for the 2010 Blizzard, the 2006 Blizzard, the big 2003 Storm, the 1996 Blizzard, the 1993 "Storm of the Century," the 1978 Blizzard, other devastating weather conditions, Hurricane Sandy, etc., etc. I've witnessed over and under-reporting, over and under-preparedness, and the effects to human beings, to homes, to businesses, and to everything else in the area, of all of the above.

Frankly, I don't care if these people over-predict and over report. Yes, I also know the devastating effects of doing these things--e.g. families/guardians of children having to lose work days (some of them critical/essential on every level, from providing essential services to other human beings, infrastructure, etc., to lost income for those truly struggling to make ends meet), people being forced, even when near/actual "martial law" is declared, to find a way to get outside and to specific destinations with reduced access to resources (transportation, power, safety, etc.). BUT, being more prepared and attentive is, in my (genuinely) humble opinion more important than fearing the reaction of many who "disapprove" of those choices.

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