Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chicken & Egg

This was the scene yesterday, at the Scranton Department of Public Works facility on Poplar Street. The plows and salt trucks were ready to go.

We can argue about this forever, and there really is no answer. Do we do "storm preview" stories because people freak when bad weather is approaching, or do people freak because we do "storm preview" stories?

Yes, I was on "storm preview" duty yesterday. The focus was how an ice storm is much more difficult to handle than snow. I'll always remember something meteorologist Noreen Clark taught me several years ago. The long range forecast called for a slightly warmer than normal winter. I was thrilled-- until Noreen cautioned that that a warmer than normal winter means the potential for more ice storms.

We've had some wicked ice storms during the last few winters. You can still see the bent and broken trees along Interstates 380 and 80 in Monroe County. Some people were without electricity for days. Power company crews have a tough time doing their job when it's nice outside. It was inspiring to see them work in the ice, as trees were bending, breaking and snapping all around them.

I live fairly close to a rather large supermarket. On my trip home yesterday afternoon, I noticed the parking lot was packed. I smiled-- and felt guilty at the same time. We want to inform, not panic. I hope we didn't add to the hysteria.

Whatever happens today, please be careful.