Editorial: We're still at the mercy of the weather

Snowfall puts Meadowbrook Parkway traffic at a standstill

Snowfall puts Meadowbrook Parkway traffic at a standstill near Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City. Employees returning to their main office from a job site, must be paid for time in traffic, state regulations say. (Jan. 21, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Should the highways be closed to ensure driver safety or kept open to allow for travel? Should the kids go off to school when the forecast calls for snow, or flakes are already falling, or should they stay home? Should there be a late start, say a two-hour delay? Or perhaps early dismissal? Or both? Get 'em in and get 'em out?

Do we leave work early to beat the rush, which then creates an early rush and paralyzes plows, or stay late to avoid the early rush and risk driving on frozen roads in the dark? Perhaps we should just work from home, which will make us look like geniuses if a storm turns out to be Snowmageddon, but slackers if it doesn't. And how can we make good decisions when snow that's supposed to get serious at noon or 4 p.m. starts blanketing the ground at 8 in the morning, or when accumulations predicted to keep piling up until sunrise taper off at midnight?

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Your guess is as good as ours, and the forecasters' and officials'. Our world has become hypertechnological and we feel as if the forecasts and decisions should be just as advanced. That isn't the case, and it seems as if it never will be. Perhaps the only thing we can get better at, in lieu of perfect predictions, is . . . chilling out.

So we got pounded with 10 to 15 inches of snow, and we're being buffeted by a polar vortex, which in the old days was known as being really cold. There were a lot of fender benders on Long Island, but few serious accidents and no fatal ones.

More snow is possible on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and, really, until mid-April. The wind chill and cold are predicted to be so bad we might need an even scarier term: How about "ultra super polar vortex"?

In the meantime, we can drive calmly and shovel safely and indulge in our safest winter sports: second-guessing those who close (or don't close) schools, roads and workplaces, and jeering at forecasters from under our blankets.


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