Despite frequency, snowstorms still cause frenzy

    It seems like just yesterday snow, sleet and ice were falling and disrupting the morning and evening commutes.

    While the Philadelphia area is no stranger to snow, for the past two winters the region has been slammed. The chaos and the cleanup have become an everyday part of life. But most don’t seem to have gotten used to the back-to-back storms.

    While waiting for a bus in Center City Wednesday, Cara Laheny was bundled head-to-toe. She said she asked herself that morning “Why do we have to go through this again?”

    “It gets tiring having to put on your boots, go out flog around, uncover your car for the nineteenth time in the week and then track all that junk that gets on the street back into your house every night,” she said.

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    The time-honored tradition of running to the supermarket for eggs, milk and bread may have been on a smaller scale this time around. Because the storm came as a surprise, pelting the area with more than predicted, many people did not have tie to stock up.

    Joann Kay of Gloucester County, N.J., said she doesn’t understand the hysteria and takes each storm in stride. “We’ve kind of gotten used to the snow and so you don’t go out and get the bread milk and toilet paper anymore,” she said. “You’ve already been stocked up. It’s pretty much life as usual anymore.”

    But Jeff Brown, president and CEO of 10 area ShopRites, said the number of customers skyrockets before a major storm. “I don’t think it matters how many times there’s a storm,” he said. “People stock up because they don’t want to be stuck at home and not have food and the basic necessities.”

    He said most stores monitor the forecasts so they order extra products and bring in extra employees to handle the rush.

    The uncertainty people feel before any weather change isn’t that uncommon. Frank Farley with Temple University’s psychology department said understanding how people react to weather changes is important to understanding human nature. Even in case of snow, people can go into survival mode, he explained.

    He also said a lot of issues arise because many things are beyond control. The weather makes roads unsafe and schools or business shut down.

    “Mother Nature is speaking loud and clear and kind of taking over, at least for a period of time, and some people really have difficulty with that,” Farley said.

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