November 28, 2018
Foresight and prevention are among the most important tools states have to mitigate the effects of weather emergencies. They're not quite as useful when the emergency is imaginary.
Meteorologists in New Jersey are are none too pleased with the state department of transportation's over-aggressive practice of treating roadways for storms that aren't coming.
Veteran meteorologist Gary Szatkowski, formerly of the National Weather Service, took the DOT to task Wednesday morning for brining roadways without a pressing need.
Fellow meteorologist Dan Zarrow similarly fumed over the state's alarmist messaging.
This is terrible. Dangerous. Reckless. And WRONG. https://t.co/Wqqd4Vn7RQ— Meteorologist Dan Zarrow (@DanZarrow) November 28, 2018
There is no risk for dangerous weather today. A little extreme to make the accusation, perhaps... But causing False Public Alarm is a crime in NJ. https://t.co/g5pTrlCtH1— Meteorologist Dan Zarrow (@DanZarrow) November 28, 2018
The criticism comes just two weeks after Gov. Phil Murphy deflected criticism for the state's response to a November storm that overwhelmed many parts of New Jersey. In that case, the forecasters were given a side-eye for allegedly whiffing on the severity of the storm.
There appears to be an over-correction going on since then.
Got the storm response so bad the last time now going overboard— Lance Lassen (@LanceLassen) November 28, 2018
About 2 weeks ago #PhilMurphy & #NJDOT had #NewJersey in gridlock over 6” of snow. Today there a plows idling all over the highways/brine being put down over a #Snowstorm which is literally in the state of Maine! This states waste of tax money is unreal!!! 🙄🤯💸 #DeathByTaxes— Jody Becker (@Next3Exits) November 28, 2018
Very thankful for the brine on the NJTRNPK this morning from exit 10 to 13A. Almost spun out multiple times. Thank You @BillSpadea— jeffisaia (@jisaia_99) November 28, 2018
A DOT spokesperson told NJ Advance Media the brining was done in preparation for light Wednesday morning snow in several counties in central and northern New Jersey.
Szatkowski responded to several follow-up tweets addressing his criticism.
Yes, maybe we're having a clearance sale on salt. "We've overbought! Our mistake is your gain. You'll never see prices this low again for salt brine. Stock up now!" https://t.co/nxEW0NHiEK— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) November 28, 2018
I'll take a break from throwing shade, and just ask if anyone is seeing snow anywhere in New Jersey. I know the Poconos saw a little action.— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) November 28, 2018
So I've gotten a couple reports of flurries. Perhaps that is the new criteria. https://t.co/yFxDzSNvm1— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) November 28, 2018
Zarrow later provided some information on changes coming to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's forecasting services. He mused about whether an open records request would grant him access to the decision-making behind the recent road treatment plan.
Thanks to research assistance from @wxwitten at @WeatherWorks, I found some info about the @NJTurnpike Authority's weather services.— Meteorologist Dan Zarrow (@DanZarrow) November 28, 2018
They currently contract with a company called @DTNweatherIntel for forecasting, modeling, and consulting. (They also handle the @PGATOUR.) (1/4)
I haven't been able to find similar RFPs or contracts for the @NJDOT_info state road system.— Meteorologist Dan Zarrow (@DanZarrow) November 28, 2018
At the very least, let's hope the new weather guidance leads the @NJTurnpike authority to make better road treatment decisions in 2019.#Brinegate @BillSpadea @nj1015 (4/4)
Who said the preseason doesn't matter?