Editorial - The icepocalypse that wasn't
The early part of last week and perhaps even before, we were warned of the incoming ice storm, dubbed Storm Jupiter, which was forecasted to dump up to an inch of ice on roads and trees. It was predicted travel would be encumbered and residents were warned to be prepared for power outages.
Thursday, the day the ice was supposed to begin, found local grocery stores packed with shoppers stocking up on everything from bread and milk to ice melt and batteries. Lines were long, tempers were short and people were impatient. There are unconfirmed reports of shoppers in one local store getting into a fight which had to be broken up, over something so simple as a loaf of bread. Is this true? We honestly have no idea, which is why it is here in an editorial column instead of a news report.
What is true, is local store shelves were nearly completely emptied of bread by Friday morning as the city and surrounding areas braced for the impact of the coming icepocalypse.
But like so many apocalypses – it didn’t seem to happen, at least not here. In some parts of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, power was lost, thick ice accumulated, however the ice melted and power was restored quickly. Storm Jupiter was credited for at least five deaths in ice related accidents in Kansas and Missouri.
Here in Cameron, the ice finally arrived on Sunday, causing cancellations of meetings and gatherings in town and the surrounding areas, by Monday, a federal holiday – the temperatures were coming up and the ice was melting. By the time most returned to work on Tuesday, it seemed almost as if the ice didn’t happen.
We knew it was coming, we had been warned for a week or better, the National Weather Service and MoDOT were both out ahead of the storm, warning people against travel, to be prepared for what might happen.
So the question is – why did so many wait until what could have been the last minute to get prepared?
Why do we wait so long to be prepared for something we know ahead of time is coming, something we have plenty of warning about? Yet we wait so long, and then get irate, irritated and frustrated with the stores, for not having enough cashiers working, at our neighbor who picked up the last loaf of bread, at the person ahead of us in line with their cart stocked full?
Most of all, why do we get so worked up over such a storm in the first place.
Should we be concerned? Absolutely. Should we be prepared? Absolutely. Should we heed the warnings and watches, modify our travel plans and stock up on batteries? Absolutely.
Should we get so worked up that we fight, fuss and get angry with our neighbor or the person working a register at a local store – who is probably just as concerned as we are, but still have to make a living? The better question is – why WOULD we?
According to Wikipedia – which admits, it is by far not a comprehensive source, there have been at least 157 apocalypses predicted since 66 A.D., with at least 45 happening since 1973. Those were the actual predicted, end of the entire world – and the human race has survived them all.
This was an ice storm and for many in other parts of Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, it is the worst in a decade. But about a decade ago, we had an ice storm in this part of Missouri, which was bad, but we survived. Not unscathed, not unharmed, but we survived – and for the most part, we seemed far less prepared for that storm, than we were for Storm Jupiter.
This is Missouri, it’s winter - ice and snow happen and most of us realize although it is forty degrees outside right now, in an hour it could be ten degrees and dropping fast. Missouri weather is unpredictable, so we should always be prepared.
There is much we could learn from one particular religion, which encourages its members to be prepared by having stores of food, enough to feed their families for at least three months and encouraging them to also keep a supply of fresh water. It’s not a bad idea. Or even simply from the Boy Scouts of America motto - Be Prepared.
At the very least, if you are going to wait until the last minute to make preparations for predicted weather, the very very least you can do is – be kind to each other. The neighbor you are getting angry at in the grocery store today, may be the one you are knocking on their door asking for assistance when the ice storm does happen.
And if I have learned anything about living in Missouri – it’s not a matter of IF the storm will happen, only WHEN.
The editorial above is the opinion of the management of the Citizen-Observer. They do not carry a byline because they represent the opinion of the newspaper.