Watching the disastrous consequences of the snow event yesterday and today in Atlanta, it is obvious that incorrect information was conveyed to the local officials and people who live there. It is a disservice to all those whose lives are precious and dear – who are now sitting on wet, slippery, significantly cold roadways, spending the night in their cars stuck in parking lot roads of traffic, or whose children could not be delivered home safely from schools in the area.
The night before the storm came to Atlanta, I talked to Daddy on the phone. He was under the strong impression that he could go about things normally as planned the next day because local news forecasters explained the storm would drop snow south of Atlanta and barely affect the areas where he lives. That was simply not true and fortunately, I had been watching the weather channel as the storm was threatening all day before arriving in Atlanta and was able to tell him so. There is no way to safely travel if there is any water on road surfaces and the temperatures are 24 degrees and going down to 16. But, the obvious movement of the storm would bring snow to Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs. Whoever said it would be coming in south of Atlanta and give nothing but light flurries to Atlanta and its northern suburbs was not only wrong, but did most of the damage from the storm that we are all seeing now.
I’ve been weather watching for awhile and noticed that in many cases, certain local stations of news coverage and weather forecasting are tending toward downplaying many of these weather events causing detriment to everyone, including before Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. That downplaying of the potential dangers of the storm and its storm surge literally swept lives away that could have been kept safe and it did no good for anyone making life changing decisions in their viewing areas.
During these extreme weather events, including those of tremendous wind chills, ice, slippery roads and snow – it serves no one to act unruffled by it, to ignore it, to fail in appreciation and respect of its dangers, or to downplay those potential life changing dangers. And yet, I watched recently during a NYC critical subzero wind chill day, one of the news shows send anchors out to play football on the icy sidewalk while acting cavalier about the potential dangers of the tremendously dangerous wind chills and slippery icy sidewalks and roadways. That stopped being funny when stories of lost lives came in from Hurricane Sandy and certainly isn’t funny now as people are literally going out into parks in NYC to jog during severe wind chills and ending up in hospitals after collapsing and certainly since story after story of people falling over dead in it from heart attacks while trying to shovel the snow in these frigid wind chills. Had they known the real dangers, these lives could’ve been protected by simply handling the situation a slightly different way – jogging at an indoor gym or by throwing de-icer from the front door onto the damn snow and ice of the steps and sidewalks.
In Oklahoma, lives were lost because it had become popular to take the fact they live in tornado ally as a cavalier joke instead of giving it the seriousness it deserves and preparing appropriately for it with storm shelters in schools and other buildings. There was no one served by that – it cost the lives of precious school children in the most terrifying and horrific way who should have been protected and safe in their school structures – and should be alive today to grow up healthy and strong, but aren’t.
In Atlanta tonight, people sat for hours in traffic in their cars unprepared with even blankets or anything else to deal with 16 degree temperatures. Someone or some news organization that believe it is fashionable to downplay these weather events – literally told them there was no reason for concern and that Atlanta wouldn’t get anything of significance from the storm. It is insane and an absolute disservice to the public to convey misinformation that way regardless of the reason. It cannot be the fashion to ignore the weather and its potential impacts with the seriousness it deserves. That defeats the purpose of our entire efforts as a modern world to forecast the weather better and convey that information publicly as a service to save lives and help in accurate responsible decision-making. There is nothing fashionable about people’s lives being further endangered by extreme storm events when they don’t have to be. It is not only irresponsible to do that, it is criminal.
- cricketdiane, 01-29-14