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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, February 08, 2013

Memories of '78

The hype has been ferocious and time will tell if the impending storm will be a champ or if we will be chumps.

But the timing, 35 years and a few days after the seminal storm for many Bostonians has made this one a little more unnerving, reviving bad memories of the Blizzard of 78.

For me, a young reporter, it was being summoned early to a night meeting that was cancelled by the time I got there.

It took me four days to get home.

There are the memories of riding shotgun up Route 495, head out the window desperately looking for the side of the road. It was finally coming back to the office and finding my car totally encased in the office parking lot. It took a chain on a bumper and a truck to yank it free.

There was the trip down a road that felt like a tunnel that lost its top. The press card on the seat next to me because travel was still restricted.

Those memories are tame compared to the ones of folks stuck in a shutdown Route 128. Or those evacuated by duck boats, before duck boats were cool, from flooded neighborhoods in Revere.

The technology is better today so it's not just one or two lonely TV meteorologists predicting a monster storm. Now just about anybody with a computer can jump into the data stream and offer their own "wisdom."

The problem is the enhanced technology has also become the major selling point of TV stations looking for ratings. Let's not forget the reporting started days before it was even a storm, two separate systems thousands of miles away on the other coast.

As a reporter, I came to rely on the National Weather Service for sanity. Those forecasters have no need to fight for ratings. And that's the most worrisome thing right now as the folks at what is now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency are offered snow totals higher than some of the TV types.

Stay safe and enjoy the outbursts of the cranks who say massive snowstorms are proof there's no such thing as global climate change, aka global warming.

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