The surprise  snow


Good afternoon,

Weather is always unpredictable on the I-95 corridor. After all, how many times did dire forecasts of snow end up as an icy mix or rain?

That did not happen on Thursday as more than three inches fell in some areas while temperatures stayed below 32 for several hours. Jokes about buying bread and toilet paper were few as the storm caught many off guards.The rain came later.

Early forecasts did not rule out three inches, but as the storm approached, estimates were reduced.

DelDOT mobilized its fleet of snowplows but seemed to struggle to keep up in the early going. The City of Wilmington was honest enough to admit the forecast was wrong but drew fire as it always does for snow-covered streets.

Social media posts criticized DelDOT although a few people voiced their support.

A few posts wondered why roads were not pretreated. However, the intensity of the storm would have undercut the impact of the treatment.

Employers tried to figure out whether to close early or see if the predicted warm-up would take place. Accidents were numerous on slippery roads as many of us refused to believe that snow could fall that quickly in mid-November.

One Philadelphia TV station claimed it called the storm correctly.

As digital media and 24-hour headline cycles cut into the impact of local TV news and sports, weather remains a hot commodity. Stations spend heavily on special equipment and staffingto come up with the right forecast or even venture a guess on the severity of winter.

The stakes are high. I remember going to a Sixers game and seeing boos erupt during an in-game appearance by a meteorologist on the JumboTron. Days earlier, a forecast called for a couple of feet of snow. Drop a flake fell.

On another day decades ago, school was canceled and nothing happened. As newcomers from the upper Midwest, it was an odd moment.

By contrast, you don’t remember the days when the forecasts were on target.

Here’s to making sure that you getthat ice scraper and brush out of the garage and into the family vehicle. Have a great weekend. This newsletter returns on Monday for a four-day workweek with a turkey break – Doug Rainey, publisher

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