Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Snow: not threatening enough

February 11th, 2011 No comments

We’ve had a more interesting winter than usual here in New England this year. Average snowfall in Boston is around 40 inches per year, and we’ve had nearly 70 this year (as of January) spread across 10 or so snowfalls. So I’ve had some time to watch how people react to snow (whether I like it or not). I’ve noticed something this winter about the driving habits of the unwashed public. I’m sure its always been this way but for whatever reason I haven’t really noticed till now. It’s going to sound obvious, but it’s a newish perspective for me.

I’ve noticed a trend that drivers could care less about how much snow there is on the roads. Don’t get me wrong… the smallest amount of snow in the air turns most people into either terrified retards barely capable of breathing, or into trailblazing juggernauts of fury who drive where they want when they want (ATTN: Every SUV driver – this is not you: clicky). What I mean is that the decision of whether or not to stay home from work due to snowy conditions seems to have nothing to do with how much snow there is outside. It has only to do with how much hype the storm received before it hit. You’d think the sequence would go something like “get up, look outside, become terrified of conditions (or not), call into work (or not)”. But no. If a storm was heralded as a Ragnarok-like event scheduled to end all life, everyone stays home regardless of actual conditions. “The news said it was gonna suck, so it’s ok if I call in”. If the storm was predicted to fizzle out but ends up dumping 6-10 inches on us by morning, people look outside and say “Ha ha holy fuck, that is a TON of snow… fuck me, this commute is gonna suck”. Every time the news predicted the second coming of Snow Christ, my commute was great. Terrible road conditions, but no drivers around to cause trouble. Any time we got a crap-ton of snow we didn’t expect, nobody seemed to pay attention to the tundra outside. Refer to the following scientific analytic analysis chart:

As you can see, so long as a huge deal has been made about the storm during the week prior, an inch or so is all it takes to keep mere mortals cowering indoors. But without this hype, the number only gradually goes up, mostly due to people actually being physically incapable of getting their cars out of their driveways. This “Fusion of Conditioning and Timing Arising in Responsibility Degradation” (or the “FUCTARD effect”) makes even lesser storms complete hell to drive in if nobody makes a buzz about it. I blame the internet. No, really. Everyone’s so used to information being shoved in their faces that they really can’t recognize a poor condition outside their own doors unless their iPhone or Weatherbug or Weatherbug on their iPhone tells them “hey bro, you better watch out lol!”

Floating around on the internet is a rant about the naming of hurricanes:

“Who the fuck is the one naming hurricanes? They somehow manage to give them the least threatening names ever. If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Erin was coming I’d think to myself, “Erin? I could take that slut.” If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Dicksmasher was approaching, I’d grab all the money in the house, shove it in my pockets, and get the fuck out of there.”

Every time I’ve seen it it’s looked like copypasta, so I can’t credit the original author. But I’d like to see snowstorms get this treatment. I know if it was Snowstorm “Assured Fatality”, Blizzard “Blood Orgy”, or “Icefest the Great Deductible Nightmare”, I would really assess the situation before getting on the road.