News outlets around the Kansas City metropolitan area and other regions in the Midwest warned residents of an incoming ice storm this past weekend, but the storm had a much smaller impact than predicted.
The college and many other schools closed down due to the weather.
Joel Nichols, journalism professor and KSHB television personality, emphasized how difficult it is to forecast winter and ice storms. He also acknowledged that there are other factors involved.
“It is incumbent on them [the media] to try to generate interest on the part of the viewers and sometimes I think there’s pressure to … And I don’t want to use the word dramatize, but to use dramatize a little bit,” Nichols said.
The Kansas City metro is an area difficult to forecast. It is affected by both the Arctic and Tropic jet streams. Additionally, the Rocky Mountains can cause a front to slow down, speed up or move north.
Student Chris McConnell was grateful for the early warning.
“They [the media] had us get ready for a big storm the way they said,” McConnell said. “You know, it didn’t happen the way they said, but you can’t get upset with them. Because what if they didn’t plan for it and it really happened? We would be in trouble.”
Gustavo Gonzalez was walking into a new experience with this storm. He was glad to know that the college was closed early Friday January 13th after hearing about the closing on the news that morning.
“I haven’t been here for any other [ice] storm like this one before, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Gonzalez said.
The storm for the most part did miss the Kansas City area but it still lead to some serious conditions. One metro woman died in a weather-related traffic accident according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
“Even this one, you couldn’t say it completely missed the metro. It had a fatality related to it,” Nichols said. “The idea of an ice storm warning as early as it did, may have caused people to be a little more excited than it turned out to warrant.”