Here’s our YouTube video of the Blizzard of 2011 as we experienced it here in Racine, Wisconsin. 23.5 inches of snow fell here from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning (February 1st and 2nd), the greatest snowfall anywhere from this storm. If we sound dead tired, it’s from hours of shovelling snow, followed by more time editing our video.
Ahead of the snowstorm, there was a lot of talk locally about the news media hyping the blizzard. First of all, Wisconsin folks never tire of pointing out that “This is Wisconsin. It’s winter.” But added to this natural stoicism were vague conspiracy theories. For example, local talk radio host Don Rosen alleged that his fellow broadcasters in TV were stoking blizzard hysteria to increase their ratings. During his WRJN show, Rosen scoffed at the notion of running to the supermarket to stock up on food and supplies.
As it turned out, the TV meteorologists were incredibly accurate in forecasting this storm. They called attention to the system days before there was anything to see on weather radar, and their computer models of snow amounts and locations proved to be dead-on. WGN’s Tom Skilling, in particular, put out a steady stream of good information, both on-air and via Facebook.
We paid heed, had ingredients for a number of meals on hand before the storm arrived, and felt happy not to attempt driving in two feet of snow.
Global warming: Snow, cold?
One ominous aspect of this storm that very few media are covering is the evidence that our winters are growing sharply colder and snowier through climate change.
In a ScienceDaily article last June, Dr. James Overland, of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, explained how global warming is rapidly melting the Arctic ice, eliminating its insulating effect, with exceptionally cold and snowy winters in Europe, eastern Asia, and eastern North America as the ironic result.
Again this year, we’re seeing one “Snowmageddon” after another, and freak snows and cold in southern states. Europe has been blasted by cold and snow again, too. Extreme weather records are falling regularly these days, as Green Energy Summit founder George Stone recounted recently on WUWM.
For now, though, the idea of climate change is still too hot to handle for our would-be leaders and communicators.