Weather Review

Weather Review – Winter Storm Jonas

            In the wintertime

            When all the leaves are brown

            And the wind blows…

Oh, it blows alright; to velocities in excess of 30 MPH this afternoon. While the snow poured into every orifice in my body, these lyrics from the Steve Miller Band’s “In the Wintertime” echoed through my ears in union with the howling winds that rustled the barren branches. “Hear me calling”: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 75 DEGREE WEATHER WE HAD OVER CHRISTMAS!?

While I vented my usual complaints about cold weather, Winter Storm Jonas failed to exceed them. I found it fitting that this storm shared the same name as former Angolan Freedom Fighter General Jonas Savimbi. Like the general, this storm generated a lot of hype, caused a great expense and in the end, led to a disappointing outcome.

As with any prospective winter storm, the barrage of media hype was legion. For days I’d been reading winter storm warnings, seguing into blizzard warnings and, inevitably, the blizzard watches. Upon first hearing of “Winter Storm Jonas” on Wednesday, I opted to go grocery shopping that evening.

To be fair to the local news anchors, at this early stage they were still in the advent of inspiring terror in the general populace. While the upcoming “white apocalypse” was still three days away, I found the store crowded. I’d arrived before 5:00 PM and encountered more people than I’d expected, but not so many that it made me claustrophobic. I found some patrons hoarding the necessities such as bread, milk and wine; make that lots, and lots of wine. I still purchased all the products I normally do during the course of my usual weekly grocery shopping.

In the lead-up to the storm I witnessed paltry panic among the populace. With little notice the grocery store prepared well for the pending weather event. If the purpose of local media is to terrorize people with the weather, does this sound like they did their jobs?

In addition, I managed to procure a few additional loaves of bread and containers of milk. During the apex of the storm on Saturday I placed an advertisement on the internet. I wrote that I understood some people may have lacked such things. I offered to sell my surplus for the generous sum of nineteen ninety-five. That’s $1,995.00. As the storm intensified I realized I’d placed the decimal in the wrong place. I corrected my posting to correctly read $19,950.00. During the height of the so called “storm of the century”, not one person replied to my offer.

Perhaps the biggest adversity accompanying a snow storm is the shoveling. I’d read various news reports stating that the snow would begin as the light and fluffy variety and then combine with layers of ice. The latter would cause it to become, and I quote, “very heavy”. Perhaps all those protein shakes I’ve been drinking are really paying off, because I didn’t have any trouble shoveling. I managed to move about 90 square feet of snow in one hour.

In addition, even with a State of Emergency in effect during a snow storm, one always sees several people taking their chances on the slick roads. This afternoon, I witnessed a steady flow of vehicles on the street in front of my home. To be fair to Winter Storm Jonas, they were pick-up trucks and SUVs, but still: this had to be the safest “State of Emergency” in New Jersey’s history.

I’d also been led to anticipate “zero visibility”. I expected that I’d see so much of the color white that I’d feel like an audience member at a GOP rally. Not so. I can’t write that the lack of it disappointed me. The people living behind me travelled during the Holiday Season. They turned on their winter lights this evening. I’m enjoying the effect they have reflecting off the newly fallen snow.

I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area my entire life and experienced several natural disasters. Hurricanes, snowstorms and even minor earthquakes have affected the region. Winter Storm Jonas will not rank among them. In the lead-up to today, I’d anticipated a catastrophe of historical proportions. Let me politely write that Winter Storm Jonas didn’t make me any more enthusiastic about global warming.