I always roll my eyes a little bit when people make a big deal out of an event that they feel is rare but actually isn’t that rare at all. Sometimes it makes me question if certain people have their memory banks working properly.
This week in Missoula we had a couple rather chilly days. In fact, we even got snow. No doubt about it, I hate it when it snows in April but it is not like it hasn’t ever happened before. But the late season snow was not what dominated everyone’s Facebook statuses and tweets regarding the weather over the last couple days. Instead, people focused on the low temperatures.
On Monday (April 22) we saw a record low of 15 degrees in the early morning. The next day we saw another record low as the mercury got as far down on the thermometer as 20 degrees. My reaction to these record days? Big deal. But my reaction was not shared by others as people went off the deep end proclaiming how crazy, bizarre, and non-typical these weather numbers were. Reactions like “OMG another record low for Missoula, summer must be canceled this year!”……”WTF Mother Nature? Are you serious?”…… “Another record low for Missoula, this is extraordinary”……..”Just don’t know how to explain these crazy temperatures we are experiencing, something must be up.” Oh, please.
I kind of think you have to be totally oblivious to weather patterns if you liken record temperature days to actual rare occurrences such as a full lunar eclipse or the appearance of a comet. Record low and record high temperature days happen somewhere in the country every single day. Every city will experience several record days in a year. Again, every single city will experience several record temperature days in a year!! With 365 days in a calendar year, unpredictable weather and climate patterns, and strong recorded weather data , daily weather records are bound to happen.
But I don’t want to pass all blame on to average citizens who hear the weather information and immediately feel that something unique is going on. I definitely feel the media fuels the hysteria by making a bigger deal about a pretty common occurrence. Headers and headlines that exclaim RECORD LOWS, extended weather reports, and utilizing breaking news to include such stories as weather records helps to blow something such as an unusually cool April day out of proportion.
I find myself using the word perspective a lot. I think if we use just a little bit of it when it comes to weather events we will be able to differentiate between occurrences that really are worth our attention versus occurrences that happen multiple times on a consistent yearly basis. Today the weather turned more seasonal and we had a sunny and beautiful spring day in the Garden City. Finally, Missoulians can relax…..until of course the next record low day comes next week. Don’t Blink.