Local Commentary

Editorial: City of F.C. Wrestles ‘Snowzilla’

Twice in the last six months, the venerable New Yorker magazine dedicated its venerable cover to the subject of climate change with cartoons, one last July depicting an elevated old New York subway track with its pylons underwater, and one this month showing the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, with the giant Christmas tree above, converted into a swimming pool chocked with summer resort-like bathers.

The idea that the mid-Atlantic and northeast coast of the U.S. would be turned into a new Florida by global warming was beginning to make gains in the imaginations of mankind this winter until, of course, old Winter Storm Jonas, or the Snowzilla, suddenly dumped two or more feet of thick snow on top of us last weekend.

What are we to make of this? Just as suddenly as the big dump hit us, now the Weather.com page is forecasting temperatures rising toward 60 degrees early next week, even before the month of January is out.

We are reminded of the old Boy Scout motto, “Be prepared.” Prepared, that is, for whatever may be in store. Prepared the way many weren’t for this last storm, especially its brief preview last Wednesday night when barely an inch of snow unexpectedly dusted the region and because it was quickly iced over with no salting, traffic became highly treacherous and was ground to a dead stop throughout the area for hours.

Yes, be prepared. Like when you didn’t have the generator ready this time. When the gas was old and the battery worn out, and suddenly you needed it and it wouldn’t turn over.

The best theories out there are that if mankind can act quickly enough now to prevent the process that is threatening to make this planet uninhabitable for life as we know it, that will still come only after a lot of turbulence. Because things have already gotten as bad as they have, it will be a close call at best, the experts are saying.

Be prepared! Fortunately, as almost a matter of routine, the City of Falls Church, in terms of responses it was capable of, was prepared for Jonas/Zilla last weekend, with new equipment and good morale among the public works troops. They deserve great kudos for a job very well done.

Luckily, the City of Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, Falls Church’s doppelganger on the Atlantic shore, was prepared, too, having spent years reorganizing and grooming its beach front to repel the kinds of tides that were threatening to sweep over the sand and wreak havoc on the boardwalk and beyond.

Despite having suffered when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the many beachfront resort communities in Gov. Chris Christie’s New Jersey were unable to expend the resources to insulate themselves sufficiently from the enormously damaging impacts a repeat heading into last weekend. The losses suffered as a result are still being assessed.

But Falls Church was like a good Boy Scout this time.