Gas lines reminiscent of post-Hurricane Sandy stretched down the street once again following an array of mixed accumulations reports for this past weekend's snowstorm.
In calm before the storm - which dumped over three feet of snow on our northern neighbors, left over 600,000 out power and nearly 40 million residents from New Jersey to the north of Connecticut shoveling out driveways and sidewalks - the National Weather Service called for 3 inches of accumulation in the boroughs.
At the same time, the so-called European weather models (ECMWF) over shot predictions at 30 inches in the city. And we checked, it wasn’t centimeters.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama put Connecticut into a state of emergency and asked for federal aid to help recover from the aftermath.
As most of the our city saw only a fraction of accumulations as states to the north, roughly 5 to 8 inches, the American models (NAM) came close to getting it right, although the quick jump from 3 to 10 inches, to as high as 15 inches in the city, shot the boroughs into panic.
But the wildly different pre-storm predictions put city residents scrambling to get food and gas, once again making chaos at gas stations and supermarkets, although admittedly not as bad as the weeks following Sandy.
Both weather models, side-by-side, causes one to wonder what these meteorologists plan to do to better predict future storms, as their forecasts, or misconceptions, tend to take immediate effect, sending people to the grocery stores to stock up their bunkers with milk, toilet paper and canned goods, just in case they’re all wrong and that 30 inches turns to 60.
But is the panic completely unnecessary?
One need only go back a couple of years when a Christmas blizzard shut down parts of the city for days, as a slow response from local government left residents stranded and trapped, to see why people get nervous anytime a major weather event is forecast, especially as they become more and more unpredictable.
So nowadays you can never be too sure, and even as we write this weather forecasters are predicting another storm. Right now, NAM is predicting four to five inches; let's hope they're right.