Apparently the National Weather Service knew that winter storm Stella, which was to hit Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, was not going to be severe, but decided not to report that to the public, causing a massive shutdown across the Northeast: schools, businesses, subways, and cancelled more than 7,000 flights in two days.
A state of emergency was declared across many cities. Residents rushed to go shopping and make sure they had enough food and water for a few days, in case the predicted 18 inch snow would cause a hiatus for a while.
However, most residents woke up to mere inches outside their homes. A day that could have been spent at work, with businesses open, cancelled, because the media failed to report on it.
The Daily Mail states:
Meteorologists knew before snow started to fall that Storm Stella fears had been overhyped – but chose not to change their forecast for fear of confusing the public.
On Monday, experts from the National Weather Service in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington discussed computer models that predicted less snow than initially expected.
But they decided to keep the extreme weather warnings in place, it has emerged.
More than 8,000 flights were cancelled because of the storm, but resumed late yesterday afternoon.
Officials even declared a state of emergency in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland.
‘Out of extreme caution we decided to stick with higher amounts,’ Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center in suburban Maryland, told The Associated Press.
‘I actually think in the overall scheme that the actions (by states and cities) taken in advance of the event were exceptional.’
There was a huge disparity between the predicted snowfall and the amount that actually settled. On Monday, the weather service announced it expected 18 to 24 inches of snow in New York City.
By late Tuesday afternoon, Central Park was covered with a little more than seven inches of snow with rain and sleet still falling.
Other areas, including upstate New York and Connecticut, received more than a foot and a half of snow. Parts of Pennsylvania were walloped by 20 to 30 inches of snow.
Carbin said a last-minute change downgrading snowfall totals might have given people the wrong message that the storm was no longer a threat.