How New York City's Monster Blizzard Became a Wee Snow Sprinkle

NYC: All Airports still closed, @MTA still suspended, Travel ban in NYC is still in effect.

— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) January 27, 2015

As you run to the window this morning, you will see that a world-class blizzard attempted and failed to destroy New York City overnight. It is now off brutalizing Boston, which is something we can all get behind.

Snowfall totals hit up to ten inches in Queens last night but were much lower in other parts of the New York. The city may get a few inches or a bit more than a few inches today, but no one cares. Now people are pissed at our emergency preparedness. Even the New York Times is getting in on the graph-snarking action. (To be fair, most people were extra-pissed because Facebook, Tinder and some other dumb stuff went down for a bit last night.) And now you can just stay at home and be pissed! Because we won’t find out about transportation options until 8 a.m., when that putz Andrew Cuomo starts yapping from his snow-bunker. And then you can prop yourself up in bed and watch all the pundits take it out on our poor dumb mayor.

It seems worth pointing out that 53 people in New York State still died in Hurricane Sandy, after a huge preparedness blitz. The death total from last night will, at least, likely approach zero. But people are mad. Like NY1’s Pat Kiernan! So mad, for a Canadian!

Of course he’s capable, he’s Canadian. But everyone else would have died trying to cross the East River on an ice floe.

So what happened? Here’s what happened.

Two divergent blizzard forecasts for New York City emerged over the past 36 hours. One was quite dire. That originated from the National Weather Service’s New York office — that’s what we call The Government Weather around here — and they’re pretty good at what they do. It also seems relevant that another huge player in this field, the Weather Channel, whose forecast was not particularly dire, has essentially made their website into an editorial spam farm over the last year. (Likely a very successful one, too!) And while that ALL IN PAGEVIEWS WHOOO online approach may not have any effect whatsoever on their actual practice of meteorology, for the rest of us the Weather Channel certainly looks like an unreliable weather narrator. We tend to ignore them.

Last night America’s weather boyfriend Eric Holthaus, obviously on team National Weather Service, and who in fact made his name with Hurricane Sandy (and his refusal to pollute the world by using airplanes) was about to go stab some of those hosers from the Weather Channel, who’d been predicting those much lower snow amounts from the get-go.

Seriously, @weatherchannel, I’m writing up a debunk right now of your NYC forecast. Very curious as to your reasoning for low totals.

— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) January 27, 2015

Oh but then.

Latest from @NWSNewYorkNY: NYC dropped from blizzard warning, another 6–10″ of snow today. 12–20″ total.

— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) January 27, 2015

Then Holthaus actually had to apologize to the Weather Channel — a hard pill to swallow.

Apologies to @weatherchannel! For NYC, looks like this storm will end up somewhere closer to their 12–18″ than NWS/@Slate’s 20–30″.

— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) January 27, 2015

At which point the National Weather Service New York office stabbed him in the back.

@EricHolthaus we have lowered amounts and only expecting another 2 to 4 inches today in the city.

— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) January 27, 2015


And so now, all that’s left is for people to be mean about meteorology. So why didn’t we get the big weather? Well, New York City is magical. But mostly, sheer luck: Long Island had tons of snow and 50 mph winds. It literally just didn’t dump snow on us, and then it roiled on up the coast.

@EricHolthaus LOL LOL How did they get a one day forecast so wrong?

— Penthouse Sidebar (@drfessel) January 27, 2015

Because predicting snow is a prediction?

Anyway, now you can just blow by the obvious next steps, which will be painful. De Blasio, blah blah, Cuomo, blah blah, the MTA, etc. Who cares. Just stay home and hug your cats and or children for a couple extra hours. YES, sure, some of you will have upsetting real-world implications. (Hourly workers don’t get snow days, and the like.) The rest of you can hush. But you won’t.

@jeffjarvis I guess the same people you’d blame if they hadn’t and the storm had been as predicted.

— Annette Baesel (@abaesel2) January 27, 2015

I do have one final thought however. Let’s ban cars in New York City!

My walk over to @NY1 without a single private car or delivery truck on the streets.

— Pat Kiernan (@patkiernan) January 27, 2015

And a few other stray thoughts.

You guys totally should have voted for the guy who always knows what the weather is going to be ahead of time.

— Ryan Avent (@ryanavent) January 27, 2015

Dear everyone who blasted De Blasio for not freaking out about last winter’s snowstorm: Happy?

— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) January 27, 2015

Of course, never forget, it’s a great day to troll.

@JCats2013 John, you’re a BILLIONAIRE you don’t have to go to work. Take the day off buddy!!!! 🙂

— The Awl (@Awl) January 27, 2015