Watching winter storm “Hunter” — thank you Weather Channel, like winter storms needed names — drop a dense snowy blanket outside my dining room window, should I be glad this isn’t a “bombogenesis,” “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon?”
We love to be afraid of the weather, maybe in the same way we love horror films. We all like a good scare. But bombarded with media messages of weather fear, that occasional scare has become a constant drone of weather worry. We’re inured to it; our children are basted in it.
What’s the problem? Fear leads to bad decisions. Worry wears us down and inures us to real dangers.
And there are dangers out there to judge, to weigh, to consider.
As I write this, ice-jam flooding is covering roads and filling basements in northern Vermont and New York. If you live near water and a flood warning is issued, you need to be observant, to be ready to move, and to understand the dangers of driving through water. This is not fear, not worry, but respect.
As I write this, we remember one of our region’s rare, true natural disasters, the 1998 Ice Storm. That weeks-long weather event 20 years ago taught us that weather respect means you stay alert, stay informed and help your neighbors in a true weather disaster.
An as I write this, California communities are digging out after catastrophic mudslides. Some residents ignored warnings, a sure sign of weather-worry fatigue. The constant drumbeat of weather woe makes it less likely we will realistically judge the true dangers we face.
And with all of this in the background, I wonder what our children are learning?
Will they fear the outdoors like some horror-movie monster? Will they ignore real dangers like some kind of fake news?
Or will we be able to teach them to respect and enjoy the weather?