Every year from June through October – official hurricane season – we see our share of Weather Star Wannabes (WSW’s) paying their dues by reporting **LIVE** from the beach in rain slickers and galoshes (we can assume). Dramatically battered by blustering winds, they shout above the wrathful waves in the background and hope their makeup doesn’t run rampant in the driving rain.
It’s not that we don’t take hurricanes seriously. Actually we do.
We just don’t take weather coverage seriously. The WSW’s can’t help but hope that this storm will be the next Katrina or Sandy, so they can surf the storm surge to a station in a bigger market. As far as the networks go, Storms are great for ratings. The ever-so-discerning-television-audience loves the catharsis of a destructive weather event. The stronger the wind, the higher the waves, the longer the attention span. Severe weather meets the same dark need that reality shows meet – Keeping up with the Katastrophes, or Dancing with Disaster, or Housewives of Hurricane (fill in hurricane name here).
In any case, when winter comes, with the attendant WINTER STORM WATCH, we smirk, and well, we often snort, in addition to snickering.
We’ve noticed that in Hampton Roads, reality snows pale in comparison to reality shows…
Because we are on the coast of Virginia, we rarely get snow. I grew up in central and Northern Virginia where snow is a regular, if not frequent winter visitor. But in the many, many years I’ve lived in Virginia Beach, and then Norfolk, we’ve never gotten serious snow, although in a good year we’ll get enough to enjoy for a day or two. It has something to do with our proximity to the warm ocean currents of the gulf stream. That, and the warmth stored in the many rivers running throughout our region keeps the white, fluffy variety of precipitation at a distance.
Now, our local Weather Teams know this. But face it, a storm scare is good for ratings, and good for local business. There is nothing quite like a triple doppler, VIPIR enhanced storm warning to cause a spike in grocery store sales, empty the shelves at Walmart, and put all of the local pizza delivery restaurants prior to, even during,the Big Storm in the black.
This past winter we also snickered at the new weather channel policy of naming winter storms, we already know ratings are the reason for the season, but, here is a link to their explanation.
Here in Hampton Roads our first encounter was DANGEROUS WINTER STORM IAGO. It dumped at least a quarter of an inch of snow on our cars which if carefully scraped up within the hour before it melted, could be formed into a small snow pet on the hood, and one small snowball to save for #1 Son’s visit home. So, while the quantity was lacking, it was redeemed by the fun we had refreshing our memories on Iago’s Shakespearean namesake.
Shortly thereafter, DANGEROUS WINTER STORM KHAN invaded. While talk turned to the legendary Ghengis, or his grandson Kublai, The Garners were thinking fondly of Khan Noonien Singh. Yes. Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically-enhanced tyrant who after using his superior intellect and physical abilities to tyrannize earth in the 1990’s, was exiled into outer space, then, after an encounter with Capt. James Tiberius Kirk, marooned on Ceti Alpha V with tragic consequences, in the Melvillian inspired Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. (Trailer at the end of the post)
In any case, Winter Storm Khan actually produced a full inch or so of snow that was of sufficient quantity to construct a dwarfish snow human, and manufacture a decent arsenal of snowballs for a wintery battle that was somewhat fun despite the absence of #1 Son.
Fond memories of Khan were followed by DANGEROUS WINTER STORM NEMO. This was fun for Latin class. Nemo in Latin means “no man” or “no one,” which matches our experience of the storm which was a total no show, a washout. We couldn’t find a single flake of snow. Rain. Lots of rain. Which made us, (and others), maybe even you, think of other watery references to Nemo…
As I write this post on the second day of Spring, we are experiencing SERIOUS SPRING STORM VIRGIL. I can more fully appreciate the naming of winter storms. GraceNotes has been studying Classical Greece and Rome, where Virgil features prominently. We both enjoyed Penelope Lively’s gorgeously illustrated book In Search of a Homeland: The Story of the Aeneid. It has been snowing off and on all day, and while lovely – it’s not sticking. Regardless, we plan to huddle up and ride it out, perhaps enjoying a few lines of Virgil!
Anticlimactic Weather Resources:
Iago – Shake Sphere – we love this site! All Shakespeare, All The Time…
Wrath of Khan Trailer: