Okay, so maybe I'm engaging in a LITTLE hyperbole but bear with me because I'm about to turn into the old guy yelling at those darn kids to get off my lawn!!!
For the past week my kids have gone to bed every night with visions of school delays and cancellations dancing through their heads. Why? Well, because the national weather service provides the warnings and the 24hrs news cycle drills these dangers into our heads constantly.
This is the list of winter warnings/advisories that can be issued:
1) WINTER STORM OUTLOOK
2) WINTER STORM WATCH
3) WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW
4) WINTER STORM WARNING FOR SEVERE ICING
5) BLIZZARD WARNING
6) WINTER STORM WARNING
7) HIGH WIND WARNING
8) WIND CHILL WARNING
9) WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW
10) BLOWING SNOW ADVISORY
11) WIND CHILL ADVISORY
12) WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY
13) WIND ADVISORY
14) LAKE EFFECT SNOW WATCH
15) LAKE EFFECT SNOW WARNING
16) LAKE EFFECT SNOW ADVISORY
When discussing past holiday seasons with my kids last night, one of them asked what was the most snow I remembered in a December. I know there was a lot of snow in the blizzard of '77 but that occurred after the holidays. I remembered it being the mid-80's because it was the last winter before our family purchased a snowblower and saved this teenager's aching back :)
This site has a wealth of historical data and it shows that in 1985 Watertown, NY received 108 inches of snow in December.
By comparison January 1977 "only" delivered 90" of snow. One of the unique things about the 1985 snow was that it wasn't 5 feet on one day. It snowed 6-8 inches almost every day for a period of 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. Did we cancel school every day in December 1985? Did businesses seize up because it was snowing? Did the military base shutdown? Were we hunkered down in a bunker to survive the SNOWPOCALYPSE?
I can't recall, but I believe we only had one or two days off during that period.
However, when you have 16 different advisories/warnings that you can stream across your screen 24/7 to keep eyeballs tuned in, so you can increase ad rates, you better believe that every snow storm from now on will be "marketed" heavily.
Okay, enough of my rant. The point is that it snows in the Northeast in the winter. We need to accept that fact and move forward. Alternatively, we're going be caught in a constant cycle of running from shelter to shelter hiding from Snowstorm Eileen to Thunderstorm Jackie (the running joke in our house is that now that the Weather Channel has decided to name snowstorms it won't be long before they start naming thunderstorms, tornado outbreaks and heat waves).
PS - Now that I've said all of this I'm sure we'll get 3" of ice tonight and lose power for 2 weeks just to prove me wrong :)