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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Chicken Little Storm of '08

All memorable storms have names: The Blizzard of '78. The April Fool's Day Blizzard; The President's Day Storm (OK, so some wiseguy named the Halloween 1991 nor'easter the No-Name Storm until a wiser guy made megabucks on The Perfect Storm.)

Historians will look at Jan. 14, 2008 and call this one "The Chicken Little Storm."

With an admittedly city bias I can only ask: why did the world stop for this? In terms of intensity, snowfall totals and slushy inconvenience this one wouldn't make my top 50.

Actual snowfall totals run 4-8 inches in a large part of the metro area. Those other snowstorms were two-footers-plus.

The biggest complaint from my inbound commute was getting wet while waiting for a bus under the artsy Kenmore bus "shelter." And even that was far drier than during last week's torrential morning commute downpour. (And OK, I do have issues with bus drivers who apparently don't understand the phrase "Stop Requested.")

Now Hizzoner, the Mayor for Life, will no doubt say calling off schools last night at 11 p.m. was the crucial element in saving the world from itself. After all, about 600 schools, colleges and other businesses took the day off.

Obviously the panic is the result of the fact everyone messed up when the 10-inch midday white-out hit in December. No one took forecasters seriously (wonder why?) and waited to leave town all at once, setting up a gridlock far worse than justified by the totals.

If workers had been released on a staggered schedule it's likely the inconvenience wouldn't have been as ridiculous as it was.

But Hizzoner and scores of school superintendents, taking heed of Harvey and Dickie's Sunday night tag team, decided that instead of staggering school openings they would say "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

For those of us who made it into the office, it was casual Monday -- jeans, late arrivals and early slides.

But there was something rather unsettling about having to tell a caller from the Washington, DC area -- where business is called off by the threat of flurries -- that I may not be able to find someone for them to speak to because we had a little snow.

Yes, The Sky is Falling. It happens in January. And take your weather forecasts from the National Weather Service. They're not in it for the ratings (although they could pay closer attention to their web site).

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