Editorial: Let's liven up snow levels
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel-Tribune Editor   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:16
Jan Larson McLaughlin
While many in Wood County are suffering from cabin fever, buried under snow and bundled in blankets, we in the Sentinel-Tribune newsroom are looking for still more ways to describe just how frigid, annoying and intolerable the weather is this week.
So I've decided that maybe we need to jazz up this threat level ranking that county sheriffs use.
Let's be honest, Level 3 - which represents the worst road conditions and warnings to stay at home - really lacks any imagination.
I'm not suggesting that we name storms, like the Weather Channel now does. Christening a snowstorm "Walter" or "Melody" just doesn't pack any punch.
And I'm not talking code names like "Operation Frostbite."
Initially I suggested color coding, but one reporter reminded that our former terrorist threat levels adopted after 9/11 often incited panic when they peaked out at red.
So how about animals? Everyone loves animals - well almost. Instead of declaring Level 3 when roads are impassable, the sheriff could declare Level Tiger. The lowest threat could be Level Chipmunk. Or for the aquatic types, starting at Level Manatee and worsening to Level Man-Eating Shark.
Or maybe descriptive food. Not something bland like Level Loaf of White Bread, but something that could pack a punch. How about Level Mild Salsa, which could be raised to Level Spicy, then escalating to Level Tongue Blistering Salsa.
Or for amusement park fans, the rankings could gradually accelerate from Level Spinning Tea Cups, to Level Bumper Cars, to Level Death-Defying Rollercoaster.
It's kind of like some neighboring counties that label their roads with letters or numbers. I will admit, it's easier for motorists to find their way, knowing that after they cross Route A, the next road will be Route B. But where is the imagination? I'd much prefer to get lost occasionally on a road with personality, like the local Cuckle Creek Road or Devil's Hole Road.
That's all I'm asking for - a name with personality to reflect the impact of the storm that has smothered the county in snow and ice.
Readers' comments on our website have been highly critical of the process used to reach a Level 3 declaration. It was suggested that I pen an editorial about that.
However, I have stronger feelings about the boring titles that we award to weather that has the power to quarantine us at home, strain our backs shoveling, and make us grip the steering wheel with frozen white knuckles.
As I write this, I'm realizing that I may be suffering from another strain of cabin fever. I think it's time to go outside and get a brisk breath of Level 2 air.

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