The near-incomprehensible change in the weather over the last two days is proof that the national political arena isn’t the only phenomenon giving us whiplash.
From shirtsleeves to snow squalls, New York got a full dose of Mother Nature’s meteorological moodiness. And when the snow stopped and the winds died down, we all could tell ourselves: We got relatively lucky.
Of course, air and ground transportation were snarled by Thursday’s onslaught. And tragically, a Manhattan doorman was killed when he fell through a glass window while he shoveled snow.
But if there was good fortune, it was that the storm arrived before the morning rush and was forecast well before that. Both allowed for proper preparations and lots of good decisions by officials and families and commuters. Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not shut down the subways as he did two years ago, drawing much criticism then.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also has had an uneasy relationship with the snow. Just a few days after he took office in 2014, he closed schools, announcing it in the morning — and just six inches fell. A month later, he was vilified for keeping schools open when more than a foot of snow fell, an occasion schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña famously described as “a beautiful day out there.” Similar controversial decisions happened in 2015 and 2016.
This time, the mayor gave everyone time to prepare — and he made the right call. Predictions of the “very concentrated, intense storm” prompted the early call on schools, which de Blasio called “a key part of the preparation.”
That all came early — around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. That gave parents time to make arrangements, and allowed teachers, who often commute to NYC from the suburbs, to breathe a sigh of relief. The call avoided the scramble that’s happened when school closings aren’t announced until the early morning hours, and it avoided the wrath de Blasio has faced several times before when he’s kept schools open.
The best outcome is when the change in the weather is the only thing known to be extreme.