Hailstorm Hailey and other weather events

I think I’ve figured out a way for us to get more attention. Let’s start naming our storms. Now, before I go any further, I probably should say I truly feel bad for the people on the East Coast who were in the path of Hurricane Sandy last week. Homes were lost, businesses closed and utility infrastructure was a mess. So don’t let any of the rest of what I say give you the feeling that I’m a heartless you-know-what.

Having said that, it didn’t hurt the people there that one of the cities in the path of the storm just happened to be the media epicenter of the western world, New York City. We haven’t been at a loss for coverage of the natural disaster. All they have to do is point a camera out their window and it’s “live from the field” reporting.
But, back to naming storms. Tropical storms and hurricanes have been named all along as a way to differentiate one from another. Plus when people ask what happened to your house, you can answer, “Sandy hit it.” Or Clara or Camille or Hugo. It all sounds better than “that #*@% storm.” Granted, you might want something that sounds a little tougher than the main female character from “Grease,” but Sandy made a mess of things all the same.

Then, as if to add insult to injury, this week the same area is hit with another storm. This one’s a nor’easter, a winter storm so wicked they decided to name it, too. This wasn’t just any storm, it was Athena. Officials said they decided to name it because of the “societal impact” it was going to have. In other words, this was going to be a big pain to a lot of people. They have neighborhoods with more people than all of Nebraska, so it’s a big enough deal to earn a name.

We have big winter storms that knock out power to people, stop travel for a time and generally grinds things to a halt, and it might get a 10-second mention on the evening news. Some say it’s because of the difference in the number of people affected. I say it’s because we don’t give our storms names.

The two days of high winds we had last month? How about Windstorm Rush. The hailstorm last spring that resulted in just about everyone in my neighborhood getting a new roof? That was a Mid’wester we’ll call Hailey. I’m not sure what we would call that big Christmas blizzard from two years ago, but I have a cousin who would suggest something along the lines of the name of his mother-in-law.

Again, I don’t want to diminish the severity of what’s happening to the population centers back east, but let’s start naming our storms and see if it gives us any newfound attention. We might have to be quick though. We don’t seem to get as many of the storms that you can see coming for a week or so. We’ll have to keep the “name your storm” book handy for tornadoes and the like.

Lesser of two evils?

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, but there was an election a little earlier this week. If this is the first newspaper you’ve picked up all week, look around a little bit. I’m sure there’s still an article or two being written about it.

In fact, I think enough words have been written about it. I won’t add any more. I just know of the many levels of relief felt by people that the campaigns are over, many centered on the often spoke sentiment that it was safe to watch TV again. A bombardment of TV campaign ads were overwhelming us leading up to Tuesday. I think we all had about enough of — well, you know, those two — to last a while.

But people have wondered, with all the political ads gone, whatever is going to fill up the time now. I have two words for you: Christmas ads. They’re here, maybe delayed just a little by the campaign season, but it won’t be long before we’ll long to hear people bad mouthing each other just to get a break from jingle bells and carols.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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