Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The headline pretty well says it all

Seattle Paralyzed by Chance of Snow

The same could be said of the Portland area.

Everything has shut down because of a freakin' FORECAST. Now, if we were talking about a hurricane or something, I'd be okay with that. But I'm pissed off to be sitting here at home, wasting a snow day, looking out at the not-snow.

Grow a pair, Pacific Northwest. Make the default position that we can handle work. Then adjust from there. Not vice versa.

Those of us who grew up in places with real winters are collectively aghast by the weather culture up here, from the media on down through the massive closures.

8 comments:

Jim Anderson said...

With you 100%, TRP. (At least we had actual snow in Olympia, though.)

brooklyn said...

It's even worse in South Texas.

I remember students in cowboy hats trying to sled on a slightly wet parking lot.

You can't make that up.

pankleb said...

The Great Weather Conspiracy:
The Weather Channel was consistently saying since last Thurs. or Fri. that Weds. Dec. 17 would be 35-40 degrees, with precipitation of some kind that would not stick. It was the only outlet saying that. All the news stations played hide the ball with that fact until tuesday, when they finally admitted it would get above freezing on wednesday. And I usually defend forecasters here, since, unlike many other parts of the country you can't turn to an adjacent state to figure out what the weather's going to be.

Anyway, that's the conspiracy: to keep ratings up, they fudge it just a little and exaggerate the threat until the last minute (this happens pretty much all the time). Then they say they missed the forecast just a bit, they apologize, all is forgiven, and people keep watching the news just to get a weather forecast (ratings/focus groups bear this out).

If people would stop watching the news simply for the weather, none of this would happen. So, if people demanded more from their news, they would get more. But that does not happen. Looks like local news weather people have found a gig that works for them and delivers what the public wants.

Sorry, TRP, I doubt they care much about news consumers like you.

pankleb said...

One more annoying comment:

I think that the powers that be (transport dept., DEQ, highway dept., etc.) decide annually that snow issues will only take up a few days of each year. So they don't throw much money at the snow relief items that snowy cities have in abundance. They have other priorities.

It does annoy me some when a person from Pennsylvania starts prattling on about this, as if doubling the number of snowplows and spending a ton of money on rock salt in Portland and Seattle would be an efficient use of resources.

Or maybe our govt. is a bunch of morons. I'm open to either possibility.

TeacherRefPoet said...

I do blame the media on this. Of COURSE I only watch local news for the weather! They don't broadcast a single damn other thing worth watching. (I'm not interested in who got killed in Portland last night!)

Melissa said...

We don't even watch the local news for weather. That's what we have the interwebs for. Or, if we really wanna be up on what's going on outside we can -gasp- take a look out our window and usually give a more accurate forecast than the local "weather people." Incidentally, it is now day 7 of happy fun-time snow action in Olympia. And this city certainly doesn't have the resources to deal with it.

Kate said...

Our nation's capital region needs the same treatment as the Pacific Northwest. Everyone panics, closes school, and mobs the supermarket as soon as the snow forecast comes out. There is kind of a (sad) point to this madness though - if it does indeed snow, those of us who actually know how to drive in the snow are severely hindered by those who don't.

Greg said...

I am completely with you on the disgust over the media "Snowgasm" coverage, but I do feel compelled to point out some things:

1) Portland and other PNW cities don't have the massive number of plows and the infrastructure other regions have to clear the roads when it snows. Nor should we. It's far more cost-effective to not pay for a bunch of equipment that only gets used once every 5 years and just shut the city down for a day or two.

2) PNW drivers never learned how to drive in snowy conditions because it only happens once every 5+ years. It shows in the number of Prius drivers I saw screaming down I-5 with the chains on the rear wheels - OK, so maybe those are just the really really stupid people that live everywhere.

3) Unlike most other parts of the country, when we get freezing temperatures and precipitation we most often get really nasty ice, not snow. Anyone can drive on hard-packed dry snow. You know as well as I do that driving on ice is a whole order of magnitude more difficult - if it can be done at all. So you really should cut PNW residents some slack over freaking out, since to them wet freezing weather = lots and lots of ice.

Signed,

Guy who took his driver's license test in a snowstorm