The Storm of the Century, a Lesson in Buzz

I’m alive, I made it!  Yes it wasn’t really that hard, the so called storm of the century here in
Minnesota turned out to be the hype of the season.  Expected to get 16 inches of snow in a day, we really only ended up with 8 inches over the entire weekend.  I do have to say, it was a great lesson in buzz though.  If you take a look at it, the weather people seem to have taken a few pages from the viral marketing handbook and did a great job getting the desired response.


All last week people kept talking about this so called storm we were going to get that was going to snow us in for days, maybe a whole week before they could clear the roads.  More and more this kept building.  I don’t normally pay attention to the weather people so most of my information was coming from other people, I read the forecast once.  I prepare every season with the essentials so I was already ready, after all, the weather people aren’t always right, like the blizzard of 1991 which shut the entire Minneapolis and St Paul areas down for days. 


Friday I went shopping for food at the local grocery store, around 4pm.  It was packed with people stocking up with shopping carts full of food and supplies.  It reminded me of people in the gulf stocking up for hurricanes except up here we get blizzards.  I heard on the radio some out of town sports teams wanted to cancel their weekend games up here because of the storm expected.  Flights were already being cancelled, events cancelled, routine weekend errands were cancelled.  Everyone was expecting to just get snowed in and stuck at home for days.


Friday night, the snow came and it came all Saturday and Sunday morning.  I didn’t go anywhere Saturday, as there was no where to go really.  But Sunday when the snow stopped, I ventured out.  A lot of snow but really just a slightly above average storm for the area.  No where near the monster they predicted.  So I went out and found a Thai restaurant open and had spicy Thai food on a cold winter day.


I was a bit disappointed, it has been many years since I’ve been in a big storm, I kind of was looking forward to one.  But as I drove around Sunday, the roads had been cleared, which is unusual, normally they take two days to get around to it!  The roads were totally cleaned off which means the road service crews had expected a big one and were ready.  There was far less traffic on the road than usual, many people just stayed home, eating all their supplies they had bought, most likely. 


The weather people had created a buzz about the “storm of the century” and had people believing it and acting on it.  Pop Tarts were on sale by the pallet load at the supermarket (Pop Tarts are a big seller during storms), everyone was stocking up on bottled water and foods that could last if the power went out.  Everyone was canceling their plans and staying home for the weekend.  None of this is normal behavior for the area, so the weather buzz did create change.


As for me, I went about my weekend as usual. 

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