Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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January 6, 2014

Weather's severity is all relative

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Weather can be a news story quite often. Here in Western New York, a typical snowstorm brings several inches of flaky white stuff and we all deal with it pretty well. Using either a shovel, a snowblower, a plow or some combination thereof, we dig ourselves out, wait for the worst to be over, and move on with our lives.

Last week was unique in that the snow combined with frigid temperatures that were below zero without the aid of the wind. I don’t care who you are or where you are from: that is COLD! And that cold is apparently set to come back tonight.

Over the past several years it seems storm warnings and states of emergency have been declared with increased frequency. I have no scientific data to back up this statement, as I’m relying only on a gut feeling. 

Having lived in the South and the Midwest, I will, however, say this: at least the local stations try not to completely blow weather stories out of proportion. They do. But weather is relative. In the mid-80s I lived in South Carolina, it snowed half an inch, and schools closed. A few years later, it snowed maybe four or five inches at my family’s home in Virginia Beach, and again schools closed.

Neither place was equipped like WNY to handle the snow, but looking back now I am forced to laugh. Half an inch up here barely registers on most people’s radar. A few inches causes us to be careful, but it, too, is relatively unimpressive.

When all the storm warnings and travel advisories were issued last week I must say that I agreed with them. I’d been on the roads earlier in the day and thought they were bad. Unnecessary travel should be avoided in conditions like that.

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