Monday, January 6, 2014

Whatever happened to El Nino?

Polar vortex, did someone call it?  The icy burden of zero-dipping weather, I mean.  In America, where we must have names and explanations for everything, the term was just one more blank in the pre-millennial dictionary in my head. And we had long thought that with El Nino, we had heard  everything there was to know about crazy weather.

(Along with the thousands of flight cancellations and dead batteries, PV aIso will lead to friendly approaches by folks blithely asking: "Is it cold enough for you?"  I have yet to figure out an appropriate response.)

The media loves freaky weather.  Headline writers can top stories with "Brrrr..."  or "city digs out"  - observations that do not require advanced journalism degrees. And then there was the news  editor across the room from me who who lived for the moment that we would get a photo of  an old woman, head scarf flat out and a twisted umbrella,  bent forward against the wind!

The interesting  non-confrontational thing about freaky weather is that nobody can trace it to the liberal media.  Can't happen when nature takes over. No risks that anybody will turn off the TV or cancel a newspaper subscription over sub-zero reports. And although the TV meteorologist  commands the screen with weird looking maps (a benefit I never enjoyed growing up in a frigid hill town)  their boasts of being first with the stories lose some credibility when you consider that all of the reports arrive from the same  National Weather Service.

At the same time, we've noticed that the climate deniers are stomping with finger-pointing delight to the minus-30s in some northern states.  Numbing evidence, they'll  tell you, with anecdotal science to satisfy their spinning.The Plain Dealer's Kevin O'Brien, the very conservative editorial page columnist, went to great, if fog-bound, lengths to satirically link an ice-trapped ship in Anarctica to the myth of climate change.

In my old town, they closed the mile-long east-west Main Street in snowy weather so we kids could belly slam our sleds at the top of the hill and burst all the way down  to the other end below.   If we had only known about polar vortex as the source of our pleasure!    But now that we've mentioned Newt Gingrich's attempt to be cool with soy latte, I wonder if the TV millennials with their weather maps will  accept me as a senior  observer if I mention polar vortex to them with a  wind chill factor thrown in to be even cooler. Better yet, frozen.  

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