Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Checking in from the Blizzard of '13

Yes, Los Angeles is experiencing a bit of a cold snap and "weather" and snow is falling at Big Bear as the copkiller manhunt continues, First Blood-style, but I write for you via the magic of the Internet, while based in interior New England, Western Massachusetts to be exact, in the Berkshires to be ven more exact. The entire region has been pummelled with unbelievable over-reporting of this being the biggest storm in terms of snowfall, in all weather records for the are. This kind of media hype is bound to fall in its face and that's how it's playing out so far.

I'll be posting updates until this is "over" as determined by the Weather Channel and other media.

As of 4:30pm Eastern, a 1/2 hour after Governor Deval Patrick banned all vehicles from all Massachusetts roadways, there were plenty of cars driving around Pittsfield because the directive was absurd for an eare with a mere 1/4" of snowfall. Vine video

Since temperatures were set to drop, my son and I brought 3 wheelbarrows of wood into the house. Vine video

Despite the lack of snow, it was time to get cozy with a fire, we moved all that wood, didn't we? Vine video

Went out at 9pm ET to sweep off the steps. 2.5" of snowfall, windy. Friends 50 miles to the East report just under 6" of snow. Vine video

Friends just south of Hartford, CT are reporting 18"-21" of snow and 30 MPH winds and gusts of 40. Friends in Boston reporting thundersnow and are getting power flickering. Windy here in Pittsfield, plows are coming through regularly, no power issues, with about 3.5 inches of snow.

At this point, 8 hours in, the storm has obviously had much more of an affect on coastal Connecticut and Massachusetts to about 50 miles inland. Bridgeport, CT on up to Boston have had significant snowfall and high winds but the storm is spinning in a counterclockwise direction which could lead to heavier snow in the inland territories. I'll check in tomorrow morning with an update.

As of 11am wind subsided enough to go out and start cleaning up. My unofficial measurement of 10" jibed with the National Weather Service measurement for Pittsfield, MA. It was quite cold, however, with temps around 16F until the afternoon. Vine video

Spent about 2.5 hours snowblowing our 2 driveways and those of my immediate neighbors. Governor Deval Patrick lifted the road travel ban for Western Massachusetts at 1pm but held it for the rest of the state. Vine video

I understand that Connecticut, eastern Massachusetts, and Maine did get dumped on but the hype factor was certainly in effect in the weather service and media outlets describing a storm that would dump feet, in multiples, across the region, and not adjusting the estimate by much even as data came in, kind of like Karl Rove during the 2012 Presidential election. 

Then we had state government decisions that compounded the hype. A statewide ban on travel could have induced panic and it certainly unnecessarily impacted many residents. We had 1/4" of snow when the ban was put in effect, less than an inch 2 hours later, and less than 3" of snow 5 hours into the ban. Roads were passable in our region by 9am today but the ban was held until 1pm. This had an impact not only on convenience but on economics.

In my 11 years of living in the area, we have weathered at least 8 other storms with significantly more snowfall and no such travel bans or other restrictions put on the population. Doubtless the Blizzard of '13 will have spawned several doctorate dissertations assessing the damage, economics, social impact (more babies born in November of 2013?), and political consequences of the storm and events surrounding it.

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