Don't call Winter Storm Stella a dud.

Stella Wasn’t a Dud, You City-Centric Weather Observers!

Stella Wasn’t a Dud, You City-Centric Weather Observers!

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The Slatest
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March 14 2017 5:58 PM

Stella Wasn’t a Dud, You City-Centric Weather Observers!

The shore of Lake Michigan on Monday in Chicago.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

What happened to Stella?

After clearing out bread and milk aisles across the city and hunkering down, New Yorkers have been left wondering: wait, this is it? Stella, the snowstorm that caused officials to shut down schools across the East Coast, ground air traffic out of the area, suspend most public transportation, and call for states of emergency, fell short of the 20-inch dump expected in the city.


Instead, New York got between 4 to 6 inches. The blizzard warning was lifted in the city (the state of emergency remains in effect), and a meteorologist with the National Weather Service told the New York Times that the storm was “tracking closer to the coast, and warmer air is being brought in.” For most of the day, the snow was more of a sleet or wintry mix.

But Stella wasn’t really a bust—it just hit farther away from the city. Upstate New York and much of New Jersey were hammered. And, places in the interior of New England are still expected to receive more than a foot of snow. And the New York Times reported that more than 2,000 homes across the Northeast have lost power from the snow, wind, and sleet. Boston schools are already closed tomorrow.

Because New York City is so populous, a large number of people experienced the storm as a dud, and many of them were vocal about it. And because cities have to deal with larger crowds and more complicated logistical issues, the buzz about storms tends to focus on urban areas alone. What we have here is a distorted narrative based on where people live, rather than a flamed out snowstorm.

And even though Stella’s wrath largely missed the Big Apple, New Yorkers were still treated to something cool—thundersnow, a fairly rare event. That’s still something.