“Snow Jam 2016!”

Well, we have survived “Snow Jam 2016!” But it was touch and go there for awhile. We even had a dusting of snow as far south in GA as Stone Mountain. None on the driveways or roads, but of course nobody moves during a catastrophic event like…snow.

It started on Thursday. By Friday it was all over national and local news. And I was bewildered. They were calling it “Snowzilla” and the “Snowapocalipse.” What it really was, was a deep low pressure system off the east coast. It funneled wet ocean air over the cold air that covered the northeastern part of the U.S. – and that makes snow. It always has, and it always will.

But this was horrendous! Why, Janice Dean (The Dancing Machine) said on Fox News that there could be as much as…20 inches of snow in NYC! (That’s not quite two feet, but who’s measuring?) Of course, in Atlanta the mention of that “four letter word” Snow, and the grocery stores are cleaned out of bread and milk. But, just to avoid the possibility of a snow flurry, schools let out early (but not before noon – if they can keep the kids until after lunch, they don’t have to count it as a “snow day”). And the Friday traffic jam that usually starts at 3PM even in the summer, started at noon.

And I was awestruck. Had they never had snow before in DC and NYC and Boston? I was almost certain that those cities saw snow every year. That is why they have so many snow removal trucks and snow plows and street cleaners and sand and salt and all kinds of chemicals to pour on the snow.

I was discussing this hysteria with a friend. He had worked at the Weather Channel and I had worked as a forecaster at two TV stations. And I think we came up with the answer. Obviously, the weather hasn’t changed. It snows in DC and NYC and Boston every winter. People in the plains states and the Rocky Mountains, where snow is a sure thing, make the same preparations every winter so their cars will start the next day and they all go about their business as usual. Rarely do you see people in Denver jammed up in snow traffic.

So what was “different” about this storm? My friend and I decided that the only thing that has changed over the years is – TV consultants. They’ve convinced TV stations and networks that they can increase their audience, if they make people frightened enough to watch their shows. And the more that watch the higher the ratings, and that means MONEY. A lot of it, and more of it.

So that explains why a few flakes around Atlanta drives the local stations into overdrive, sending poor reporters scurrying up to the mountains to show the phenomenon of SNOW. But what explains the milk and bread phenomenon? Is there a family in the Metro area that doesn’t have enough bread and milk to last – a day? If so, we’d better call out the Saint Bernards and send them on their way with a few emergency loaves and a few quarts of dairyland’s best. As I write this tomorrow’s forecast is for Sunny and 50 degrees, the snow will melt and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. We made it! We’ll just have to hope for another Snow Jam in 2017. But…wait! There’s always February. Hooray!



About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
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