Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Washington's Snow Job

Last week, the East Coast of the United States got yet another major winter storm that dumped enough snow to require a yardstick to measure. We're talking several feet of snow. Newscasters pointed out that for a couple days last week, there was snow on the ground in 49 states, as even Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and both Carolinas all had record snowfall. Florida!!! Hawaii was the only state missing out on the fun.

In Oregon, our snow is only in the mountain ranges. We've had a mild winter so far. In fact, the Pacific Northwest is so unseasonably warm that the Vancouver Olympic Games have had problems with slushy snow for a few skiing events. Whenever we get a major snowstorm, climate change deniers like Rush and Beck love to gloat about "global warming" in their mocking, sneering manner. Don't they know anything about climate? Planet earth exists in a delicate balance. Our neighbours one planet closer to the sun, Venus, is too hot to support human life while Mars, the next planet further away from the sun, is too cold. Wrecking havoc on our biosphere means we'll get more extreme weather patterns...hotter summers and colder winters. You know what deserts are like: hot in the daytime, cold at night. Do we want that for our planet?

More than that though, some places will get more precipitation than they need while others get less. In the summer this means more flooding for some areas and more drought for others. Gee...which sort of disaster would you prefer to endure? With this over-abundance of snow in the Mid-Atlantic region (affecting a huge swath from D.C. to New York City and beyond), it was definitely more than those cities could handle. I read that in New York City alone, it costs the city government $1 million to remove each inch of snow for all five boroughs. While many businesses and the Federal Government closed, Wall Street was still functional. I guess the selling of stocks, bonds, and commodities continues on no matter what. I guess I'm not a capitalistic minded guy, because I think that a huge and rare snowstorm like this is a great opportunity for people to just not work. Stay in your warm home, enjoy your family, and even read a book or watch a movie or the Olympics. We're too work obsessed as a nation and the media reminds us all the time how much this snowstorm costs in terms of businesses that lost money during the days they are closed or governments that have to clear streets. My answer would be, "So what?" Its not always about money. Only a miser would condemn a rare snowstorm for costing him money. Just enjoy the awesome power of mother nature...because its only going to continue to get more freaky as the years go on. Welcome to the 21st century!

Honestly, I'm jealous of all the people who live on the East Coast. I knew I should've moved to Virginia in 2006! I miss living in a place where there was a big snow storm each year...and this year, they got two. All we had in Portland was a pathetic snowfall on 29 December that disappeared a day later. I doubt we will have snow this season, as meteorologists attributed this unusual winter to El Nino.

Below is a photo of me from October 1994, where I got to play weatherman in front of a blue screen at CNN Studios in Atlanta. For those who are sick of the snow already...just look at the orange and yellow on the map and'll be dreaming about this snow in the heat and humidity of August. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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