Saturday, September 4, 2010 about that hurricane Earl?

Although Ct was not in direct in the path of Hurricane Earl (slamming into the Carolinas as a category 4 hurricane) , all local news stations reported that even inland cities and towns such as Middletown would most likely experience some higher than normal windows and at the very least a down pour yesterday evening. And we got nada.
Yesterday, the reporting style of the tracking of Earl seemed reminiscent of that of last years February 9-11 supposed "Blizzard of the Season" which caused the closing of schools and the State departments prior to the storm in anticipation of statewide disaster. State department closings also put a halt on the Clean Energy Plant explosion investigation. Nicknamed "Snowmagedeon", the second Nor'eastern of the season was supposed to drop a foot or more on Connecticut, but ended up with only moderate accumulation (at most 2-3 inches in Hartford and Middletown) in most parts of the state with the exception of the immediate shoreline which did get 9-12 inches. This hyped up forecast caused many to use precious time off from work to hunker down, and business owners close down shop and loose revenue. Better "safe than sorry" seems to be the attitude of the weather reporters of CT, god for bid they miscalculate the severity of a storm that causes major damage.
But really weathermen,- putting citizens in a state of frenzy rather than take a chance and or admit a wrong prediction for what?- hype & ratings? job security? Why make the effort to calculate an accurate prediction when they can get away with just making a prediction? I seriously question when such exaggerated weather reports about minor storms on TV will cause citizens to adapt the attitude that the weathermen are simply crying wolf again.

Past New England hurricanes have killed people, so accurate early warning is key. This lack of accuracy was the issue in the first major storm I ever heard stories about was the Ice Storm of 1978. The storm hit February 6th of that year in such severity that then governor Grasso shut down the streets for snow removal. My father tells me homes in southern Middletown lost power for up to 2 weeks. He was resigned to shaving in the basement bathroom of his then job at Mallove's Jewelry on Main St.
The biggest blizzard I remember was in '96, but it was only 18 inches of snow, and 1 missed day of school. My grandmother grew up near Westerly RI, at the time when the 1938 hurricane killed over 100 people. Today, as an adult, these events explain my grandmother's odd behavior I witnessed as a child, of her filling the bathtub every time there was a thunderstorm, her latent fear of there not being running water if the storm got bigger. Even though I know about these past storms, and watched the catastrophe of Andrew and Katrina, I find my generation are the ones who do not understand pre storm hysteria caused by past post storm disaster; the last major hurricane I lived through and did not just see on TV, Gloria in 1985, I slept comfortably through, in my crib.
In college I taught my my roommate from San Diego to drive in the snow and to avoid fishtailing. Understandably, she was quite nervous about driving in a foot of snow, as I would have been say driving in phenomenon that I would consider foreign.
Is 9-12 inches of snow in a geographical area where we get 2-12 inches sometimes reason to shut down? I think we ought to be careful, but is it just me, or in the last few years have people lost their New England due or die spirit and gotten all soft when if comes to inclement weather? I realize hurricanes are another story, and no laughing matter, but I am talking about just a plain old snowy winter- but the manner in which major and minor weather systems are reported with the same vehemence is what the issue is.

I visited my grandparents yesterday after work.
"So how about that hurricane Earl.. this is some big storm huh?, I asked.

"I think they just make the weather up these days. I don't get it they have all these computer machines" answered Joe S., 85 of Middletown.

"When I was a kid I remember the hurricane of '38. Before the highway, everybody had to go through Middletown from New York to get to Boston or up North. So there was this chicken truck. With crates of chickens sticking their heads out, like now you see only in the movies. Well it tipped over by the (town) Green and there were all this chickens running everywhere ( laughing hysterically) ... you see you couldn't buy chicken in packages, you went to this guy we called the 'Chicken Man' on Court Street and you picked it out and he killed it for you in the back...but we didn't get chicken very often, too expensive, more so than meat then. Well anyway all of us kids chased all these chickens and people started grabbing them and bringing them home. There were feathers everywhere like snow and all this wind! The power was out for days... trees down... now that was a big storm, that was a real storm!!"

(image is 1938 storm map NOAA)

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