I have no idea how they name winter storms, or even if they should. Weather-hype is yet another instance of click-bait, or watch-bait that requires constant upgrading to draw in increasingly jaded readers/watchers. Winter storms are a fact of life, particularly in northern states. If you name them, then you think you own them, as the saying goes. In any case, beyond the fact that they go through the alphabet to draw their inspiration, I have no clue what criteria are used for giving names. The storm that many of us were out in for much of the day yesterday was “Ezekiel.” There are plenty of “E” names available, and I wondered at this biblical choice. Ezekiel is often treated as a name for eccentrics, and I wondered if something about this storm was proto-apocalyptic or what. Beyond the standard “snowpocalypse,” I mean.
The storm may have been considered of “biblical” proportions since it affected/is affecting much of the nation (as it is me, even as I write). We tend to use the Bible for things that are of large scale, and, frequently, beyond our control. Prophets often called for events on national level, and Ezekiel’s message had to do with a kind of ultimate redemption. I suppose it’s the kind of message our nation could use right now, snow or not. We could use good times sent from above, following the decidedly unbiblical evangelical administration we’ve put up with for three years now. What would Ezekiel say?
Back in my teaching days, I had to cover Ezekiel in less time than the prophet deserved. He pantomimed the coming destruction of Jerusalem, and, among the exiles, proclaimed their return to a better future. Now I can’t say if winter storm Ezekiel will lead to a better future or not. It will lead to some sidewalk shoveling, some travel headaches (as we experience firsthand yesterday), and the usual array of winter wonders. I do know that claiming insanity to label a prophet is a cheap shot when it comes to explanations. Ancient people recognized madness when they saw it, and prophecy, they knew deep down, was different. None of this suggests this storm has been in any way predictable. Yesterday with its accumulation of sleet and freezing rain, and today with its projected snow are all part of a typical December around these parts. As people addicted to media stimulation, I guess we have to give it a name so that we can feel properly awed.