On Monday, a blizzard debilitated New York. Three-foot drifts cover the street outside my window; a desolate area of Brooklyn scheduled to be plowed eventually, days after commerce resumes elsewhere in this great city. Some kind soul shoveled a path to the next street over, one deemed important enough to merit a halfhearted pass from an overworked plow.
Last night, we stumbled through the snow banks to a normally packed restaurant where we were seated immediately. The waiter apologized for the lack of specials, saying the delivery trucks never arrived that morning. For that matter, neither did my mail. Not that I can blame the postman. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat…” never was the official motto, anyway.
The MTA, citing the “unprecedented severity of this storm,” feels it cannot be blamed for service interruptions. Which is fine, except that Monday’s affair was only the sixth-worst in history. In February 2006, we walked through tunnels to work after 27 inches fell from the sky. Neither the storm nor the MTA’s incompetence is unprecedented; one, however, is predictable.
In Alberta, they worry about Chinook winds, a warm breeze that blows off the Rocky Mountains. The temperature once rose from -2 to 38 in an hour at Pincher Creek. First Nations people called Chinook “Snow Eater.” We sure could use one of those right about now.