Monday, December 27, 2010

16" +.....The Holiday Blizzard of 2010, and The Case of The Missing Governor and Lt Governor




For lack of a better term, it's being called the The Holiday Blizzard of 2010, with 30" of snow falling in New Jersey's Union County, and with an unofficial estimate by yours truly of 16 inches locally in this end of Middlesex County. The snow began around 10AM on Sunday (December 26) and ended in the wee hours of December 27th, with wind gusts in excess of 30 mph and bone chilling cold, and drifting snow blowing all over the place.

A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey by Acting Governor Steve Sweeney who's filling in for the vacationing Chris Christie....I have a few things to say about that, but be patient, it's coming. It's bad out there, and the bottomline is simple; if you don't have to drive, stay home. There's been stories on all of the news outlets of people throughout the region being stranded on highways for 12 or more hours, or in airports, train stations or on subways overnight.

We had three significant snow storms last winter, one in December and two in the same week in February. I'd say this was worse than any of last year's storms, and this might have been the worst storm to hit New Jersey since the Blizzard of 1996.

Now here's the interesting thing....to those of us following this thing as of Christmas Eve, on just about every local news station, the consensus was that the storm would miss the area almost entirely. On the 11:00PM news on WNBC (New York) on Christmas Eve, the forecast was for cloudy skies Christmas Day, and with a near miss of the developing storm with the Twin Forks of Long Island getting a couple of inches of snow, and New York City and New Jersey getting a dusting to perhaps an inch of snow. The minor snow event would start late on December 26, and would be of little consequence. Go about your business and enjoy Christmas. The brunt of the storm would be a hundred miles of more out to sea.

No big deal, right?

So on Christmas Day, I went about my business and had a nice day, enjoying it all and relishing Santa's bounty. After a filling dinner and a few drinks on Saturday night, I went to bed, but had a hard time sleeping. I got up and had some coffee at 7AM Sunday.....I put on the news. I hadn't watched any news, picked up a newspaper, listened to news on the radio, or been online since Christmas Eve.

And the storm that was going to miss us? GOTCHA!!!!

It was only a few hours from hitting New Jersey, New York, and the whole Mid-Atlantic Region.

It was the re-energized storm that dumped ungodly amounts of rain in California, and even deposited snow in the Deep South, like in places where it never snows, in Georgia and South Carolina, the first White Christmases in those states' histories.

And surprise.....an intense blizzard was about three hours away; and I didn't even know the status of my snow blower. It always had a knack for dying on me when I needed it most. Hopefully there was no bad gas in it from last year, and the carburetor didn't gum up on me again.

So before breakfast, it was off to Home Depot to get some two cycle oil and carburetor cleaner, and then on to buy fresh gas for the snow blower. Home Depot, at 9:00 AM Sunday morning, was a total freaking madhouse. Literally pallet after pallet of ice melt and snow shovels were coming out of storage. The parking lot was packed, the store was full, and I overheard one employee say to another, "I've never seen anything like this, ever, at this store". It was one of those scenes you see on the news, and you watch and shake your head in disbelief.....but this time I was part of the same incredulous scene.

After Home Depot I went to a local HESS gas station with my empty gas can. At the station there was one attendant working four lanes, with about six cars deep in each lane, and also with a few guys standing around to get their gas cans filled. It seemed that many people decided to get an early start and hit the road before the storm hit on Sunday, and most gas stations staffed like they would for a typical Sunday morning; that is, very minimally. They were slammed. It took a half hour to buy one gallon of gas, and the situation was the same all over.

And then Came The Blizzard......

The ornamental reindeer with antlers is about three feet tall, his grazing female mate is buried under the snowfall.

Between the two candles is a three foot tall Santa Claus

I had intended to include more pictures of the aftermath of the Holiday Blizzard of 2010 before removing snow, but while walking around out there I got stuck in the snow bank created by the snow plow.....I mean, physically stuck. The snow was close to three feet in depth in that spot, and yes, I literally had cold feet (rimshot!).

BTW....Where was the Governor when the blizzard hit? Better yet, where was the Lt Governor?

Before beginning to dig out of the worst blizzard since 1996, I watched the updates from News 12 New Jersey. On air at the time was the Acting Governor of New Jersey, State Senate President Steve Sweeney, who declared a state of emergency in New Jersey.

It was explained to the viewers that New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie was vacationing in Florida, and Sweeney, a Democrat, was serving as acting governor. But that led to the next obvious question....where was Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Christie's running mate and the New Jersey's first ever lieutenant governor?

Steve Sweeney didn't know the whereabouts of Guadagno when asked. But it appears that she too was on vacation, leaving town at a time when a major snow storm threatened the region.

The voters of New Jersey chose to create an office of lieutenant governor in 2005 after a turbulent period where New Jersey had five governors in five years. Previously the state Senate President served as the acting governor while the governor was ill or out of town.

So let me ask the obvious....why do we have an office of lieutenant governor in New Jersey if both governor and lieutenant governor choose to vacation at the same time? It's back to a letting the Senate President run the state...and in this case, it's during natural disaster, doing the the job we voted for a lieutenant governor to do.

Lame duck governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania was on the job during the blizzard. So was lame duck governor David Paterson of New York as the storm threatened.

The joke among New Jersey Democrats is "How is Chris Christie unlike God?".

"Because God is everywhere....and so is Christie- except in New Jersey."

OK....Governor Christie does deserve to go on a family vacation over the Christmas holiday if he wishes. But shouldn't his #2 be there to mind the store while he is away?

This is a really bad job an both of their parts....and they can't blame this error in judgment on Barack Obama or Brett Schundler.

Maybe they'll hang it on the crew of THE WEATHER CHANNEL.

2 comments:

Sue said...

I must say, I think I'm a little bit jealous of your beautiful deep snow! We had a few inches(I know!) in some parts of the yard because of blowing 60 mile an hour winds, but other than that it was a fizzle for us! :-(

Christie is a BUFFOON!

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Sue- yeah it was beautiful, it was deep....and thank God my snow blower worked.

The only thing that's saving Chris Christie from taking more heat about his being AWOL after the blizzard is the disaster in NYC. As of 7:00 am today(Thursday, four days after the storm) many roads in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island still haven't been plowed. At least three people have died in storm related circumstances.

But at least Mike Bloomberg was on the job, and Chris Christie wasn't.

The big winners in this in NJ are acting governor Steve Sweeney and Newark mayor Corey Booker, visible during a crisis.

Two words for Governor Christie, and I'll invoke the name of a once bright Republican hopeful back in the day who's career was derailed by a blizzard......John Lindsay.

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