OK, everyone who said, “You just know we’re only going to get half an inch of snow,” please take one step forward.
Golly, that’s a lot of us.
Maybe it’s human nature to discount or dismiss predictions that go outside our normal experiences, but the National Weather Service saw Thursday’s storm a week ahead of time and did a good job of letting the public know what it knew as the event drew nearer and information grew clearer.
It was a lot like the blizzard in 2011, when there was plenty of warning, the state basically shut down for a day, people heeded the advice to stay home and take it easy – and we got through a major emergency just fine.
Again, two months ago just before Christmas, we got a large winter storm with good amounts of snow and sleet – and bad driving conditions that closed Interstate 29. Again, forecasters got it right.
And they did it again this week.
Yes, forecasters sometimes miss, but they tend to err on the side of caution so no one is – or at least should be – caught by surprise in bad weather. We need to remember to read or listen to the forecasts carefully. “Could happen” is good to know, but it’s not the same as “will happen.” For example, at the beginning of this week, Weather Service forecasters said this was shaping up as a nasty storm but its exact track – affecting whether a given area got freezing rain, sleet, snow or tons of snow – was still unclear. That picture became sharper as the week progressed.
Let’s also mention that road crews have worked tirelessly and well to clear the main roads so people can get around. Spreading salt and sand ahead of the storm helps, too.
This is also one more chance for a reminder that a modest bit of preparation at home can avert a ton of hassle and heartache when the lights go out or the roads are impassable for a few hours. Again, the forecast scoffers joked about the run on milk, bread and kitty litter at every grocery store in town on Wednesday, but that is prudent behavior.
Officials remind everyone to have at least a three-day supply of water – one gallon per person per day – bottled up somewhere handy in the house. Add to that at least a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food, plus flashlights, a couple of spare blankets, a radio – preferably a NOAA weather radio – and a few tools. Get the whole list at www.preparemetrokc.com.