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Survivors of the Blizzard of ’78 Mock the ‘Arctic Vortex’

Are Americans a bunch of wusses compared to past generations?

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

January 7, 2014 - 7:40 am
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Apparently we are experiencing a weather event of epic proportions. The headlines on Drudge tonight screamed:

CHICAGO SMASHES RECORDS…
COLDEST AIR IN 20 YEARS…
‘LIFE-THREATENING’…
‘Exposed skin may freeze in less than five minutes’…
Power Demand Soars…
Texas grid pushed to edge…
Indianapolis Mayor Bans Driving…
JETBLUE To Halt All Flights To, From Boston, NY, NJ…
AMERICAN AIRLINES Cancels Flights Over Frozen Fuel Supply, Cold Employees…

Here in Ohio, as early as Wednesday afternoon schools began closing in anticipation of the frigid temperatures and wind chills. Even the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino and local ski resorts closed due to the “dangerous wind chill temperatures.”

Immediate mockery by nearly every Ohioan over the age of forty began on Facebook:

  • Well I see all the public schools in my area have already WIMPED OUT and cancelled school for the next two days because of . . . snow and ice and cold temperatures. Heavens. I guess the poor little dumplings can’t take it. Is everyone going to cancel work too because it’s so cold?
  • I can’t believe they cancelled already when the temps are still ok and not one flake has fallen. Hello Wussy USA!!!
  • My wife rode the bus from the time she and her sisters were in elementary school. If there were one or two foot snow drifts. . .if they could get the buses out of the barns. . .they went to school. Parents can walk or drive their kids. We are turning our kids into wimps nowadays.
  • I delivered newspapers when in snowstorms many times. I think the real problem is that parents want their kids to be protected every minute from the time they leave home. They probably have a greater chance of getting shot in school than getting frostbite but that is another issue.
  • I’m only 20. But even I know things have happened a lot worse than what we have now. It’s sad to see that we’ve come so far just to be so annoyingly weak.

My personal reaction to the wall-to-wall news coverage of this “dangerous weather event” has been something along the lines of “seriously?”

Why all this derision — even hostility — simply because the schools and some businesses wanted the public to stay home for a couple of days until this cold weather blew over?

Quite simply, Ohioans of a certain age remember January 26, 1978, the day the Great Blizzard of ’78, also known as the White Hurricane, also known as the Cleveland Superbomb, descended upon Ohio.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
As far as driving dangers, there is a difference between the cars of then and now that make it mostly WORSE when it comes to driving in bad weather.

The cars of the 60’s and 70’s had three MAJOR advantages for driving in the snow compared to today:

1) Greater ground clearance. I could change my oil without needing a jack just by sliding my whole body under my ’68 Impala…todays cars have what, four inches between the floor boards and the street?

Today the cars are “body-riding” on the snow in far less total accumulation than 40 years ago, plaining like a boat on water. This makes for lot of drag, while simultaneously robbing the tires of grip because the weight of the car is no longer COMPLETELY on the wheels.

2) Larger diameter wheels/tires…18-even 19 inch rims with tall profile tires. Able to go through/over more stuff with less effort….

Ever push a wheelbarrow with a small wheel across rough ground? How about a piano with tiny caster wheels over carpet? Its a lot of work, aint it? Now increase the wheel diameter (like, put the piano on a dolly with bigger tires?) and suddenly its a lot easier to move around.

Think of your poor little Prius with its tiny little tires, and half the body weight supported by the snow. You aint going nowhere.

3) Yup, heavier weight. Didn’t need sandbags OR 4 wheel drive with a 6000 pound Catalina Station Wagon, with its higher ground clearance and bigger tires, to easily get through four-to-six inches of unplowed snow, did ya?. Just 3 inches today puts EVERY NON-A.W.D. car in the “stranded zone”.

And, as far as the modern gadgets and such, they are more often than not a liability….all they do is make Yuppies maintain that “June-and-August” driving style in in the middle of February, due to a false sense of security.

All wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and Traction Control have NO EFFECT AT ALL on the loss of SIDEGRIP when you're going TOO DAMN FAST for the actual road conditions along that curve….all four wheels can continue to turn at equal speeds with “sensors” that only monitor WHEEL ROTATION, utterly ignorant to the fact your entire vehicle is pirouetting in a circle for three full revolutions, before landing ass first into a ditch, because you never really LEARNED how to drive “in the snow” because you never HAD a car WITHOUT these placebo/idiot devices.

In my neck of the woods, just two inches of snow = Soccer Moms in Audi’s and BMW’s (even SUV’s) on their roofs, every time like clockwork.


The weather aint any worse today....but the people and their machines just arent suited for it like they used to be
(show less)
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42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Are Americans a bunch of wusses compared to past generations? "

Yes.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (39)
All Comments   (39)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I still remember driving during the winter of 77-78, when the State Police had reported the local highway was still open. As I headed for work, through the blowing and drifting snow, my van suddenly stopped, and the windshield blanked out. After getting out to see what happened, I found that I had buried the van's nose into a snowdrift that was at least twenty feet tall, that spanned the entire road. With all the blowing snow, I never saw it. The Jeep driver behind me pulled me out, and I headed back home. The next day, my neighbor used a skid loader to dig a path through the four feet of snow covering my driveway, so I could get out. It took end-loaders another two days to clear the highway, where I had been stuck.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is some historical information. For the globe in general and the US in particular, the years 1947-1976 were "cold years". The waters of both the North Atlantic and North Pacific were in their cold phases. The coldest global winter of the 20th Century was the 1962-63. But the winters of 1947-48, and 1976-77/77-78 were not far behind.

Beginning in 1976 the North Pacific temps flipped from cold to warm. In 1993-94, the North Atlantic followed suit. From 1976-1995 global temperatures spiked. This period of rapid warming (0.15 deg C) was topped off by the 1997-98 Super El Nino. From 1995-present, global temperatures have stagnated. In 2007, the North Pacific again flipped. This time from warm to cold. The North Atlantic remains in its warm phase but is projected to turn negative (cold) something this decade. That means, the globe has reached its natural plateau of warmth. It is more than likely already beginning a very slow change to cooling again.

I highlight this bit of meteorological history only to highlight the fact that most Americans born after 1994 never went through the kind of winters Americans did from 1947-1980. It's not that Americans are wussies. The younger generation just doesn't know. I remember telling my oldest son (he's 18) that the winters from 1974-1980 were brutal, and most of the winter in the 1960s were just as bad if not worse. We all got a taste of what used to be the normal 40 years ago.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heck the East Coast's 'Snowmageddon' late '09 & '10 hype was as nonsensically pushed as well.

I recall SEVERAL instances each year during that time where my wife, then a NE VA Special Ed Teacher for a public school had gotten automated calls in which the next day or days of school would be cancelled per the NWS/ NOAA due to ANTICIPATED weather!

Working in the meteorological field though the consequential, respectable, accuracy being a job requirement for continued employment private sector I looked at graphic, alphanumeric charts for our area ( I provided aviation forecasts for upper NY, upper NE U.S. flight corridors ) when something seemed afoul.

I kid you not - each and every instance the next day(s) weather would be mostly clear or a very, VERY light dusting, immeasurable, in which it'd be done by daylight.

Though this DIDN'T change school's plans.

By the 2nd time these clusterfukc forecasts (often times issued merely 15-18 hours prior & were so off it's for me, insulting) were issued by these federally employed b oobs my wife and I would have the highways nearly to ourselves.

Yeah yeah it's warmer in Antarctica. BFD. It's ALWAYS warmer at the South Pole AND McMurdo Station, Antarctica than MOST U.S. Cities whom experience snowfall, cold temps this time if year.

I don't know if we've gotten 'weaker' per the weather but our nanny state agenda has exponentially increased since my '03, '04 Austral Summers at the aforementioned Antarctic science stations.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having grown up on a farm in the 60's and 70's I, and most of the other people I knew, spent many a long day in zero or near zero temperatures tending to the needs of livestock.
"Gotta make 'em as comfortable as we can" my Dad would say. When we would finally come inside it was sometimes hard to feel your fingers and toes for a while. Then my Dad would say, and I heard others of his generation say it as well, "it sure is a lot easier than when I was your age because of all the modern equipment we have now."

Yeah, we are a bunch of wusses compared to past generations.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
But, there's no app for that!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Life here on the Northern Great Plains continues unabated by the recent cold snap. Some of my friends wait for the big freeze to create perfect ice boating conditions.
Notwithstanding, media malpractice hypes anything and everything weather-related ignoring reality while embracing fantasy.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here in Minnesota we had -30 windchill yesterday and -10 windchill today. School was canceled both days due to cold weather. My reaction goes something along the lines of, on the one hand, this is ridicules and everyone needs to spend more time outside acclimating to the climate. On the other hand, no school.

Based on what we actually learn in school, I'm inclined to go with the second line of reasoning.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I live in Minnesota as well. I was born in the mid 80's so I don't remember winter being this cold, Monday was awful but I still worked. I help run my families delivery service and I couldn't duck out of that no matter what.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
As far as driving dangers, there is a difference between the cars of then and now that make it mostly WORSE when it comes to driving in bad weather.

The cars of the 60’s and 70’s had three MAJOR advantages for driving in the snow compared to today:

1) Greater ground clearance. I could change my oil without needing a jack just by sliding my whole body under my ’68 Impala…todays cars have what, four inches between the floor boards and the street?

Today the cars are “body-riding” on the snow in far less total accumulation than 40 years ago, plaining like a boat on water. This makes for lot of drag, while simultaneously robbing the tires of grip because the weight of the car is no longer COMPLETELY on the wheels.

2) Larger diameter wheels/tires…18-even 19 inch rims with tall profile tires. Able to go through/over more stuff with less effort….

Ever push a wheelbarrow with a small wheel across rough ground? How about a piano with tiny caster wheels over carpet? Its a lot of work, aint it? Now increase the wheel diameter (like, put the piano on a dolly with bigger tires?) and suddenly its a lot easier to move around.

Think of your poor little Prius with its tiny little tires, and half the body weight supported by the snow. You aint going nowhere.

3) Yup, heavier weight. Didn’t need sandbags OR 4 wheel drive with a 6000 pound Catalina Station Wagon, with its higher ground clearance and bigger tires, to easily get through four-to-six inches of unplowed snow, did ya?. Just 3 inches today puts EVERY NON-A.W.D. car in the “stranded zone”.

And, as far as the modern gadgets and such, they are more often than not a liability….all they do is make Yuppies maintain that “June-and-August” driving style in in the middle of February, due to a false sense of security.

All wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and Traction Control have NO EFFECT AT ALL on the loss of SIDEGRIP when you're going TOO DAMN FAST for the actual road conditions along that curve….all four wheels can continue to turn at equal speeds with “sensors” that only monitor WHEEL ROTATION, utterly ignorant to the fact your entire vehicle is pirouetting in a circle for three full revolutions, before landing ass first into a ditch, because you never really LEARNED how to drive “in the snow” because you never HAD a car WITHOUT these placebo/idiot devices.

In my neck of the woods, just two inches of snow = Soccer Moms in Audi’s and BMW’s (even SUV’s) on their roofs, every time like clockwork.


The weather aint any worse today....but the people and their machines just arent suited for it like they used to be
(show less)
(show less)
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
“…anti-lock brakes and Traction Control have NO EFFECT AT ALL on the loss of SIDEGRIP when you're going TOO DAMN FAST for the actual road conditions along that curve….all four wheels can continue to turn at equal speeds with “sensors” that only monitor WHEEL ROTATION, utterly ignorant to the fact your entire vehicle is pirouetting in a circle for three full revolutions….”

With you all the way on this!!

Driving home Monday from a visit to the Beltway, through a typical mess on the formidably serpentine PA turnpike, those anti-lock brakes were cold comfort indeed. Give me those old-fashioned "pump 'em hard on ice and snow" brakes any day of the week.

Never once, in 40+ years of driving home for the holidays through white-outs on the legendary I-90 Bermuda Triangle, often with exits drifted shut, the road down to one deeply rutted lane, and no recourse but to press on, did they ever fail to stop me, more than once (despite moving at an appropriate crawl) just seconds away from rear-ending a semi.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I tried to buy a Polar Vortex parka from LL Bean, but they were sold out.
Seriously, where I live in the Southern Appalachian mountains, the worst winter in anyone's memory was 1977. Subzero temperatures hit just after Christmas and didn't let up until March. Schools were closed from Christmas until March. Visibility on the roads was frequently zero feet due to blowing snow in high wind, and I remember a stretch of several days when the daytime high was not above zero F. When it thawed in late March the mud on the unpaved roads was above your axels, and the paved roads were torn to pieces. This little cold snap will soon be forgotten.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
On the other hand, given the low return on school "education" these days can you really justify sending a kid out with even a slight increased risk of injury just to go to school? cost/benefit analysis says no. Back when school had some higher value, then it was a different matter.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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