On Monday, the Northeastern United States braced for what was forecast to be one of the worst snowstorms in their lifetimes — it was dramatically dubbed Snowmageddon. Cities planned accordingly, shutting down transportation and issuing orders for everyone to stay at home. So on Tuesday morning, when people woke up expecting to be buried in mountains of snow, only to find that Snowmageddon yielded one inch in some areas, their feelings were mixed at best. Now it looks like instead of power outages or being snowed in, the aftermath is fraught with scandal, which we're calling SnowmageddonGate.
Normally, residents would be happy and relieved to get less snow than expected, but the overpreparation and emotional roller coaster they were subjected to ended up making them more angry. This was especially true in New Jersey, where the Snowpocalypse barely even frosted people's windows. But just the day before, officials called a state of emergency in New Jersey based on meteorologists' forecasts.
On Tuesday, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who had enforced a statewide travel ban, was asked to address his overcompensation, he had the perfect answer for reporters.
Well, my response would be, we were listening to all of you. You all were on TV, you know, practically 24 hours talking about this based on what you were being told.
It's true. News reports had built the storm up into something that would surely go into the books.
In anticipation of the storm, meteorologists were issuing terrifying warnings about how Juno could be "historic," "crippling," and "life-threatening." Based on these warnings, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents:
Don’t underestimate this storm. Prepare for the worst.
And that's exactly what they did. They dutifully, albeit begrudgingly, canceled their plans for Bachelor group viewings, accepted the cancellation of Louis C.K.'s Tuesday night show at Madison Square Garden, and said, "That's life" when their flights to some tropical getaway were also canceled. Oh, and for those who rely on hourly wages or tips, they shrugged and adjusted their budgets as they were forced to stay home on Monday night.
It's no wonder people are angry. By Tuesday, when it was obvious that Snowmageddon was more like SnowMEHgeddon, most transportation lines in New York and New Jersey had already resumed. Suddenly, all the cancellations felt painfully pointless. So together with their city officials, people started pointing fingers at meteorologists, and now they're working overtime issuing apologies.
Gary Szatkowski of the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, tweeted early Tuesday:
Other meteorologists also took to Twitter to apologize:
But as SnowmageddonGate unfolds, it's important to remember that having your daily routine interrupted by halted transportation is a minor inconvenience compared to the devastating effects a heavy snowstorm can have. And as a good rule of thumb, for anything in life really, it's always better to err on the side of too safe than not safe enough. Plus, for those of us who are able to work from home, and for countless school children everywhere, Snowmageddon was basically a mini-vacation for no reason, and there's nothing wrong with that.