Media storm-hype is one of those things, like Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, that seems to get worse and worse every year — and no one seems able to do anything to stop it. Like a gelatinous sci-fi blob, it gains its own malevolent momentum.
If it’s any consolation, it doesn’t appear to be a recent invention. Go back to this week 47 years ago, and you’ll find my family getting concerned over a storm that never posed any threat to southern New England:
You’ll note that the calendar entries for Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 find someone taking notes about the path of a hurricane.
(That doesn’t look to me like my grandfather’s usual handwriting, though I suppose it must be, and I’ll assume it is.)
The Aug. 31 entry is even timelined — 6 a.m. — which suggests my grandpa took the storm seriously enough to have his eye on it early. In that pre-Internet age, he wouldn’t have had those figures on hand precisely at 6 a.m., but he might have caught them on early-morning radio or television.
What’s curious is that the most convenient history of the 1966 Atlantic hurricane season shows no storms particularly close to Stamford.
Hurricane Faith was churning around during that period of time, but it doesn’t seem to have posed any serious threat to the East Coast. Apparently it stirred up some high seas between Virginia and Florida, and that was about it.
The coordinates shown on the Aug. 31 entry are well off the coast of Orlando, Florida, while the coordinates on Sept. 1 are well off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. Beyond that, there are no further notations.
I assume southern New England had some brief potential, early in the storm’s development, to end up in its crosshairs … and my grandparents got sucked up into the forecasts and decided to keep a record of the storm as it progressed.
If Stamford got any sort of heavy weather from the storm, I don’t see any indication of it on the calendar. (Apparently there was a good soaking rain in Provincetown, Mass., that weekend, but contemporary accounts don’t make it sound like anything epochal.)
We’re just about in hurricane season now, and some pundits believe it’s going to be a heavy one. They may be right.
Or, they may be the spiritual descendants of the weather worrywarts who apparently convinced my grandparents to pay attention to a distant hurricane, long, long ago and (thankfully) far, far away.