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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

It’s about 11 a.m. Friday. The ground here in Kingston is covered with a couple of inches of powdery, very lightweight snow that’s fallen this morning. My son and I just shoveled our driveway – which took all of about 10 minutes. It’s the classic beautiful wintry day. Postcard stuff.

But turn on the TV, and you’ll find that CNN – in those unnecessary headlines they always have at the bottom of the screen – is screaming that there’s WICKED WEATHER! in the Northeast; that the region is getting POUNDED BY SNOW!; that the conditions outside are EXTREME!

It’s February, folks -- the middle of winter. Some pleasant, fluffy snow is coming down across the Northeast. Being outside is actually enjoyable. But CNN (and their co-conspirator fear-mongers at The Weather Channel, Fox News and MSNBC) would have us believe the world is ending.

No wonder people panic so much whenever they hear snow is on the way. They expect the worst, and even when it doesn’t turn out to be as bad as expected, the TV news channels – not wanting to admit their forecasts were overblown - keep acting as if a calamity is upon us.

As a side note, kudos to the Kingston school district, which today used what I believe is the last of its seven allotted snow days for 2007-08. Great job, guys! (On two of those days, you might remember, the roads were completely clear of snow and ice.)

I grew up in suburban Rochester, an area that gets between 150 and 200 inches of snow per winter. Snowfalls of 4 to 6 inches are common; they can happen more than once a week and several times a month. In the 10-year period between my kindergarten and ninth-grade years, my school district closed exactly twice for snow. Let me say that again: Two school closings in 10 years in a place that gets 200 inches of snow per winter.

The Kingston school district has used seven snow days in the past TWO MONTHS – in a winter that’s been milder than most. What an embarrassment.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Johnny said...

Saugerties once closed because it was raining too hard, so it is laughable.

I grew up in Buffalo and worked in Rochester from 1991-1999, so I know what you're thinking.

Light snow, 4 to 6 inches with little or no wind is not a "storm" just like a steady drizzle of rain in the summer is not a storm, but TV stations rely on ratings and they know that scaring the public by calling for a winter storm will get eyeballs to the set.

And, unlike Rochester and Buffalo, the roads are usually bare the day after the snow falls.

Do Hudson Valleyers know what lake effect is.

February 22, 2008 at 3:33 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Johnny:
I went to college in Buffalo and became closely acquainted with lake-effect snow. (Remember the January '85 onslaught? About 3 feet, as I recall.)
Those kinds of accumulations in the Hudson Valley would shut local communities down for a month.
-Jeremy

February 23, 2008 at 1:16 AM 
Blogger Johnny said...

Yes, I was a high school junior and the storm hit on Super Bowl Sunday---Dolphins-49ers. Ahh, those were the days, or is it daze.

Did you go to Buff State? UB? Other?

February 27, 2008 at 2:15 PM 
Blogger Johnny said...

I see that you went to Buffalo State, and worked for the old Niagara Gazette, a paper which was very popular on Grand Island, where I grew up.

There's been major talk about the Buffalo Bills eventually leaving Buffalo and heading for Toronto or some other. Does that make you sad?

February 27, 2008 at 2:17 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 27, 2008 at 3:10 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Johnny: I can't imagine Buffalo without the Bills -- even if they have been a pretty disappointing team for the last decade or so.
The irony, of course, is that if they moved to Toronto, the majority of the fans in the stadium probably would be people who drove up from Buffalo. -JS

February 27, 2008 at 5:35 PM 

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