Monday, January 28, 2013

Curmudgeon complains about those who complain about the weather

We've had so little real winter weather in Chicago this year (and last winter, too, come to think of it) that maybe the over-reaction of my six million friends and neighbors to just a taste of normalcy is understandable.

Sort of.

Last Friday's morning rush snow squall (maybe we got an inch from it -- maybe) was enough to turn the Kennedy (and all the other local "expressways") into a stalled sea of sheet metal -- travel times three and four and even five times normal. I woke up to news of an eight-car pile-up on the express lanes at Armitage. This was amended soon thereafter; turns out, there were 12 cars involved. On the other hand, things always get dicey around here -- even in normal winters -- when it snows at rush hour. I recall a two hour odyssey one Christmas Eve many years ago (I'd gone into work) -- a trip that should have taken about 20 minutes. (I was a very popular fellow at home that night.)

But what justifies yesterday?

We had a bit of an ice storm yesterday afternoon.

Now, there's no question that freezing rain is the worst form of precipitation possible. I'd rather have a foot of snow than try and cope with even a quarter-inch of ice. Ice storms are murder on power lines and pedestrians both.

But even in our 24/7 world, if there's one afternoon when things can slow down, it's on Sundays, right? So the weather is awful; driving is hazardous. On Sunday afternoon most of us have the choice to simply avoid it. The weather forecasters promised that temperatures would warm overnight, so any ice that did form would simply melt away. (And, sure enough this morning, according to the thermometer in the van, it is an unseasonably warm 47 ̊. It's a gray, rainy morning in Chicago that April would be proud of.)

But every newscast yesterday was devoted to how terrible things were outside -- the perils of ice -- and so forth and so on. It might have been reasonable to put the weather bunny at the top of the broadcast to take 15 seconds to remind people it was not nice outside (if one assumes the pelt of sleet and freezing raindrops against the windows insufficient to convey this information) -- but to devote 15 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast to normal (for a change), if icky, weather? Why? Are all the other problems of the world solved that we can dwell on this?

I didn't think so either.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

wahh, it's only in the low 70s here... (smile0