Better safe than sorry when it comes to storms

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Winter Storm Jupiter (the Weather Channel's name) turned out to be somewhat of a bust in McCook, but there were scattered power outages in the area and a few non-injury accidents reported around McCook.

The latter is probably true because many businesses, including the Gazette, chose to close their doors Monday rather than risk the safety of their employees and customers on the icy streets and highways. Many schools and offices were already planning to close because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday federal holiday.

The expected snow didn't materialize, but it was apparently just warm enough that the moisture did arrive in the form of an unusual January rain.

McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport received .47 inch of precipitation Monday, for a total of .69 of an inch so far this month.

That's .42 above normal for this date and far ahead of last January, when we received only .02 of an inch or precipitation.

Caution was certainly appropriate for most of the surrounding region, with video of a fiery Interstate 80 accident near Odessa on Sunday morning making the national news.

Some employees did brave the roads to keep a few businesses open, and, as usual, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who couldn't take a day off Monday and traveled or even stayed on the job for extra shifts to keep people safe.

Nursing home and hospital employees, police and fire, transportation, city, county and state street and utility crews all made sure essential duties were performed.

Weather predictions are better than ever, and while it's tempting to criticize forecasters for crying wolf when things didn't turn out quite as nasty as they predicted, that's far better than underestimating the severity of the storm.

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