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Daze of My Life: According to computer models ...

Daze of My Life
According to computer models ...
By Kenneth B. Lourie

And no, this isn't a take on the James Cameron-directed, special effects phenomenon, "Avatar." This isn't 3D. This is "realidy." This is Doug Hill, Channel 7 meteorologist speaking (advisedly). This is weather at presumably its finest and most likely scenario. Weather predictions via man-made machinery; computers specifically, which we've (most of us, anyway) all come to respect and appreciate as tools of the respective trades. But weather itself is not so reliable, nor is it man made. Weather has a mind (track) of its own; predictable, generally, but subject to change/interpretation? Oh my, yes! As sure as the wind blows. We may think we understand nature, nurture it sort of, maybe even relate to it in some anthropomorphic way. But, it doesn't understand us. It doesn't relate to us, and it certainly doesn't seem to care about us. It reacts to its natural (and unnatural) surroundings and acts not according to any weather model, real or imagined. It just reacts, like a pinball on steroids; any which way, including loose.
As a result, the rest of us are left to pickup the pieces, sometimes literally. Otherwise, we pick up the shovels and "Ice Melt," hammer, nails and plywood and clear the walk and/or batten down the hatches, 'cause weather is coming or in some patterns/predictions, may be here already. And if it is, you better have your supplies, at least in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area because if you're late to the dance, there will be no party afterward. And no milk, bread, eggs, toilet paper or water either; that's presuming you can even find and/or fit into a parking space.
But it's nothing us Washingtonians (or transplants) have not grown accustomed to: panic in the streets (and the shopping centers, too). Are we proud are of our overreactions? Hardly. Has our snow-related behavior over the years been typically much ado about a little something? Until this year ... almost always. Has the Blizzard of 2010 finally earned us a little respect, grudgingly though it may be, from Buffaloneans specifically, and Northerners in general, many of whom have regularly laughed and scoffed at our school-cancellation policy and our many "snow emergencies?" You would think. Moreover, I would say we've earned our snow-shoveling stripes, our plowing medals of honor and our bravery above and beyond the call of reasonable and customary winter duty.
Eventually, life goes on, though. Until the next weather model predicts the formerly ever-scary "wintry mix." Which until this most recent record-setting/smashing blizzard, was as frightful a pair of words ever spoken here (in relation to the weather, that is; after all, this is Washington, D.C., home to the three branches of our Federal Government: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial, where snow accumulation, generally speaking, pales in comparison to the more pressing matters of the day; and night and weekends and holidays, too). Now we all know a little bit better.
And I don't believe we would have known better were it not for the local media who went into crisis mode: non-stop coverage preempting regularly scheduled programming. Much of it helpful and in real-time, but some of it redundant; amusing occasionally, informative certainly, but ultimately it was all too much, just like the snow. In general though, the local media made the most of a bad-weather situation. But the television and radio stations can't help themselves any more than the weather/nature can. Their reactions are mostly out of our control. Except we can turn them off. Unfortunately, we can't turn off the weather. All we can do is hope that the next "computer models" are kinder and gentler than the previous ones.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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