Sure, the headline is a take on how most jokes used to start before political correctness hijacked our ability to laugh at ourselves under the guise of seeming insensitive should we tell one. But this time, it isn’t really a laughing matter. All we have heard for the last week are sensational claims that the fourth nor’easter was headed our way. Many businesses that can have their employees working from home are doing so. Those that cannot work from home and must report to work to get paid will lose a day’s pay because their employer has closed as the doomsday predictions have been so incredibly hyped. All schools in the area were closed in anticipation of the snowmageddon. Of course, we do it for the kids.
In general, we are thankful that we can go to sleep knowing what the weather holds in store for us the following day. We can get the kids off to school properly dressed as well as ourselves. We know to bring an umbrella even though it might not be raining as we leave for our respective destinations. Yet in spite of any fore-warnings we may receive, it should be incumbent on those proffering the information to not over-hype it. In this age of 24-7-365 information overload, it seems that every media outlet makes what we used to simply experience as a snow storm into a state-of-emergency event.
As we sit perched atop the hill in the ABG office, we believed we were going to get clobbered at approximately 1PM when the snow's intensity appeared to be growing. Maybe the forecasters were correct after all. We decided to close at 2PM and go our separate ways. Everyone made it home without incident as the roads had little traffic and mostly covered with slush. One person joked, “This just in… there is 1-3” of rock salt on the roadways. Please stay inside and off the roads for your own protection…” Yes, it was humorous in a sarcastic way, but it highlighted what was going on and presents a bigger problem down the line.
Once the media pundits begin to make the lead story the impending weather and then make it a perpetual story for each of their newscasts, including the scrolling banner on the bottom of your TV screen and the interruptions of the shows you are watching, they’ve become part of the problem. We’ve also seen every politician come out and add to the hysteria. The governor has declared a state of emergency and the Town is closing early under the better safe than sorry mantra – which does make sense. So what’s the problem?
The public is getting weary of the weather-related incidents to the point where they’re starting to ignore them. That’s the real problem. We saw it during Hurricane Katrina when the populace were told to evacuate. Reporter after reporter would interview residents who insisted they would stay and ride or tough it out as they’ve been through this before and everyone is just trying to make news. With traffic jams and limited roadways, a shortage of fuel, seniors with the inability to relocate and more, it’s understandable why staying put may have made some sense to them. But as more and more people come to realize the weather as reported are not coming to fruition, people will continue to adopt a wait and see attitude or worse – they’ll ignore it. And, while it’s an understandable reaction, it could be deadly.
Our suggestion is to weigh the information as objectively as possible. Go online, watch television and listen to the radio. You can even check out the National Weather Service and get weather information that may not be local but will show the storms, their projected paths and what we can expect. All of the media forecasters are watching it too! Then watch the local news and listen to the area radio stations. With all of that information, you can make an informed decision. If the police department and various levels of government officials are saying to do something, pay attention to that too. Obviously, if you have kids, your decisions could very well be different. Either way, sift through the hype and make better choices for your own safety. It will make for A Better Greenburgh.