NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

January 23, 2013

Mother Nature fools our high-tech world

We humans think we have a lot of things pretty well figured out when it comes to the mechanisms of how our planet operates.

Well, we had yet another humbling session yesterday that reminded us that we’re not quite there yet.

The weather forecasters and their high-tech computer models and diagrams had us all stirred up for the biggest dumping of snow of this mostly snowless winter. Greater Newburyport and the nearby coast were targeted for up to 6 inches... then a few hours later it was up to 8 inches... then 9 inches, or more than 9 inches... breathless forecasters explained the complicated ins and outs, including something about some kind of unique coastal phenomenon that we’d have the unique opportunity to be hammered by.

And, so, then our usual pattern of frantic activity occurred. The supermarkets were overrun with people buying way more food than they needed.

Gallons of milk and many loaves of bread? Well, according to one attentive cashier at Newburyport’s Market Basket, those aren’t actually the items that everyone is hoarding.

It’s ice cream. Makes sense. If snowmageddon is coming and you’re going to be trapped indoors, who really wants to gorge on cold milk and bread?

Armed with our ice cream and ample supply of important storm-survival supplies like Oreos and chips and dips, we hunkered down and listened to the frequent updates and studied the online radar and hour-by-hour predictions. We nodded and grimly planned for all the contingencies — what to do with the kids, how to get the driveway cleared, what to do if the power went out, and everything else that goes with modern storm preparation. Lots of us looked outside in the late evening and saw the impressive swirls of snow. The weathermen and women must be right — sure looked like we were in for it.

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