It's been a couple of weeks now since a major winter storm was expected to sweep through the Mid-Ohio Valley and then barrel up the eastern seaboard.
The winter storm, tracked by the national weather service and others, was expected to ride the jet stream down through the mid-west and then turn and run up the seaboard into New England.
Initial model estimates were anywhere from 12 inches of snow to 1 inch or less, depending on which of several dozen scenarios were going to play out. And of course, the closer we got to the event, the more these options dropped along the wayside and the snow totals were reduced...and lowered...shrunk...and revised.
But that didn't stop some people from getting on their social media and republishing outdated projections. I know of one lady in particular that reprinted an ABC News projection for two scenarios, suggesting 12-to-18 inches of snowfall in our region. The problem was once this was posted to her web-page, that forecast was then locked in stone, and not able to be updated.
I had people telling me to go look at that person's web-page (FACEBOOK ACCOUNT) to see what SHE was forecasting for the area. I did, and saw the color graphic boldly posted with NO TIME STAMP, no indication of when it was posted nor when it was to be valid or expired. Because this person was prominent in our community, people were linking to her account and in turn, promoting the out-dated information on THEIR pages...and it just kept rolling along.
That evening before the snowfall was to begin, I chanced to go to a local grocery store and pick up a few items. Bread, milk, TV dinner, paper towels...nothing remarkable. Yet, every person in the store turned and noticed me, and just short of following me around the store, they started noticing what I was buying...telling their friends that I was stocking up for a blizzard. REALLY?
Does a TV dinner, a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread constitute a blizzard? You would think so, because quite literally, every aisle that I turned to walk down with my small cart...all the people in that row stopped to talk with me. EVERYONE!
Now, what should of been only a five minute run to the store had turned into a half an hour of questions and explanations. Every person wanted to know if it was going to be as bad as they had heard...how much snow...would there be school...should they stay home...buy more salt...stock up... the questions went on and on.
One thing was obvious...the people who were stopping me had not been watching the news or weather that evening. ...but they had "heard something" either earlier in the week, gotten a text message asking them to stop and shop, OR had someone else mis-inform them on what was coming.
One look at the store shelves told the story...there was some panic buying going on as well. I had been told in the past that whenever I mentioned the S-word on air, that the shelves would be swept clean by people rushing out before the alleged storm to stock up. One wonders what their home larder looks like prior to their rushing out and buying frenzy. I hope that they used up their supplies that they laid in, and nothing went to waste.
But I'm sure that the store manager appreciate the extra business as well. At least, they told me so, cause they stopped me in the store to ask the same questions as their customers were. I began to think that I should set up a little booth like Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts and charge for "weather advice". I could make a fortune!