"Can We All Shut Up About the Weather for a While?"



So New York and the East Coast more generally got much less snow than was predicted, an event which provoked this memorable headline: "Men Promise Brooklyn Women 8 to 12 Inches, Deliver 4.3."

In a new Time column, I try to draw some lessons from this latest example of overhyped weather coverage. Among them:

Can we shut up about weather for a while, especially weather that is totally in keeping with the seasons in which it's taking place? It's only 2015, but it seems like we get storms of the century about every three to six months. Our parents famously walked three miles (uphill both ways, mind you) in sub-zero and scorching temperatures in shoes made of detergent-box cardboard while also mining coal and smoking unfiltered cigarettes by the carton. And here we are, snug in our all-wheel-drive vehicles and Gore-Tex weather wear, demanding work and school be canceled on a 40% likelihood of snow flurries….

As one Twitter wag put it in response to the non-blizzard of the moment, "Remember: no snow = global warming, lots of snow = global warming, less snow than you thought = global warming." The important thing being, of course, that we always feel bad about ourselves no matter what's happening. The United States doesn't have colonies anymore, but we can still feel bad that our productive might is somehow making the world a worse place….

Which leads to a second lesson to learn from this latest snow job: To politicians, any and every day is a campaign rally just waiting to happen. Within recent memory, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took heat for failing to react quickly and efficiently to snowstorms, among other weather events. It's funny, isn't it, the way that our elected leaders never really seem to be there when it matters but are always quick to petition for extra money from taxpayers, the federal government, or private businesses for the next big catastrophe?

Read the whole thing.

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  1. I hear the whole thing has been overinflated.

    1. The whole business does highlight how retarded the NFL is. A Super Bowl in New York? Playing craps with a moneymaker like that is a level of insanity I can’t easily fathom.

  2. Men Promise Brooklyn Women 8 to 12 Inches, Deliver 4.3.

    Well, I’m willing to bet 4.3 was still enough to leave them sitting on their fat asses all day to recover.

  3. “Twelve inches? How about four inches, three times?”

  4. I might stop by not starting.

  5. Why is our web overlord writing for Time? Did Look and the Saturday Evening Post not offer him a column?

  6. Heh, “weather porn.” The wife and I went on a weather porn binge in the fall of 1993. We had just bought our first house, and it had an 90-foot-long driveway. I had a tiny, rusty 1970s Sears single stage snowblower.

    It started snowing in November, a month after we moved in, and didn’t stop. We would have a storm just about every week until February. We kept the Weather Channel on in the background like the radio–bright green and white storms crossing the TV screen while cool jazz played.

    At its peak, I had to crawl on top of the ridge of snow lining my driveway to shovel off the top because my brave but dinky snow thrower couldn’t toss it that high.

  7. It really does crack me up, as I actually do recall walking to and from grade school (dodging pedophiles of course) in blizzards. Yet they closed my office and all the public schools today, and we got about 6 inches here.
    I know it’s been a gradual pussification, but since the last day my job was closed was the day after 9/11, I’m going to say 09/12/01 is the day the USA officially became a nation of pussies.

  8. Um, Nick New York is not all of the “North East”, and Boston is still getting clobbered

    1. NYC is the center of the universe (at least as far as the MSM are concerned.)

      A five alarm fire in NYC is national news good for 5 days of coverage.

      Denver getting wiped out by an asteroid would rate one day of coverage as a filler item. (Even then, it wouldn’t get covered if the NYC teachers go on strike.)

    2. Boston is still getting clobbered

      Why ruin a good conspiracy rant.
      Imagine. An inaccurate weather report! (gasp)

  9. Also, don’t forget what happened in Atlanta last year when the city didn’t panic and the storm got worse then expected.

    They got excoriated for not taking a storm seriously. So absent developing a supernatural ability to see the future, cities are kind of stuck in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” situation with regards to storms.

    1. And yet, Atlanta is still part of the US, and their basketball team is pretty good this season. Maybe they took the right path after all by not over-reacting.

    2. Stormy Dragon|1.27.15 @ 3:36PM|#
      Also, don’t forget what happened in Atlanta last year when the city didn’t panic and the storm got worse then expected.

      Bless you! As I’m reading this hissy fit, I’m thinking along your lines. If I was a weather man, facing a storm, which side would I err toward?

      Our first year in Seattle, early 1990s, a MASSIVE blizzard hit a town which doesn’t even have real snow plows. They issued a warning, businesses closed down. Rush hour busing was accelerated to early afternoon. Still, my wife didn’t make it to the bus station, 2 miles outside the city limits, until after 8PM.

      If it didn’t happen, or if wasn’t that bad, what was the harm? Nick needs to get a life. He actually wrote about politicians taking the heat for not responding well enough. Damned if they do. Damned if they don’t. But it’s just government, right?

    3. They should have panicked. For sure the storm would have been much less bad if they had panicked beforehand.

      1. Yeah, THAT is the lesson!!

        Coincidence IS causation 🙂

  10. Looking at NYC only, and going back to 1888, five of the top ten snow falls have occurred since 2003. Three have occurred since 2010. The biggest NYC snowfall of all time was in 2006, which I would think would still fall into the category of “recent history.” Maybe the reason why people talk so much about record snowfalls (in NYC) is because there have been so many of them.

    1. But…..Global Warming!

  11. All that snow must have melted before it hit the ground due to Global Warming.

  12. snow job


  13. Snow-Mageddon-Gate-Apocalypse-II.

  14. I got almost 30″ at my house. This storm kicked my ass, frankly, so I’m not sure why people are saying it was a disapointment. I’m still not dug out.

  15. Though an atheist. I frequently pray that climate coverage be restricted to Ron Bailey. I forward his stuff to my liberal friends and they appreciate the lack of hysteria (on both sides). We actually have civil and thoughtful discussions. (gasp)

    Am I the only one who sees the irony of Nick saying “shut up” while he posts a total rant, preaching to the choir?

  16. Not agreeing or disagreeing – just sharing:…..ard-worse/

    1. Thanks, Rohdewarrior. I haven’t read much yet, but that’s the best depiction I’ve seen on the devastation caused by the storm that supposedly never was!

      Gillspie may not be a climate denier, but is a storm denier. 🙂

      I want to see if the shoreline damage is reported elsewhere.

      “The storm surge may have permanently altered shorelines from New Haven, Connecticut, to Portsmouth, Maine. Storms have always happened in winter, but the excessively violent ones?”

      I lived in Hartford a while back and loved exploring the entire New Englandf shoreline. I always chuckle at the notion of severe blizzards being proof of global warming.

  17. I am sick and tired of the story tellers in weather/climate science starting with how those scientist hold out that they’re not related enough to draw conclusions from weather about climate. Secondly, that neither of them can make reliable predictions much past what they see on the horizon and they can even bobble those.
    You know what they get right? The obvious.

    1. Climate “science” is 100% funded by research grants. They are literally being paid to report climate change.

      Note the escalation this year in the level of sheer hysteria. They were getting their brains beat out by the “pause” in warming for the past 18 years

      Not to deny equal hysteria from the deniers. For totally dispassionate reporting on the issue, see Ron Baily here. This article is political posturing, not science or journalism, a different sort of hysteria.

  18. This is so true, We should make some effort in controlling the climatic changes. The tremendous power of a hurricane can turn a home inside out and leave it in ruins. Such weather changes lead welcome to storms and hurricanes which may damage to household things if manageable impact windows are not properly installed by the professional contractor like window contractor Fairfax VA. After I read this article, I certainly got the things about how one can manage or can have control over the things to stop such disasters.

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