• Cape Cod House Watch

You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater but you can become a meteorologist.

When I began Nauset Management in 1998, I would call my three customers during periods of adverse weather conditions and deliver timely, eloquent and most importantly, accurate details. As my business grew, this line of communication became incredibly inefficient given the demands of increased sub-contractor coordination and communicating critical issues to home owners.

Whenever I’d call my three snow birds, my biggest challenge would be refuting what sister Millie in Chicago saw on her regional news or listen while they expressed dismay over the conflict between my perspective and written projections in the current Farmer’s Almanac. I say this with a smile on my face because even back then, I felt it was vitally important for me to be able to lend a calming voice and put concerned minds at ease quickly and accurately.

As my base grew, I realized that concern wasn’t exclusive to my three grandmotherly customers. In turn, the Millies and Farmer’s Almanac readers grew exponentially which brings us to the conditions link and my time honored love hate relationship with the weatherman and woman.

Anyone with any off-season experience on the Cape will tell you that snowfall, big surf, wind, water temperature and the effects of these elements and more all reside on a razor’s edge that change quite literally as the wind blows. My primary issue with the weather reporting is that even a garden variety storm can quickly become a generalized calamity. From here, networks then stack up three meteorologists in-house that take turns regurgitating the same information with a slightly different tone of urgency. Then there are the remotes. These are the teams of 140 pound reporters adorned in network issued windbreakers that comb the state looking for the worst possible place to tether themselves to and then base the entire statewide event on that particular location. Most recently, the “Plum Island Storm” or as The Weather Channel dubbed it, “Saturn.”

In early February we had a snowstorm where parts of Falmouth reported upwards of 18+ of accumulation. Within an hour, the Cape was “buried in 18+ of snow” when in fact we were in the range of 4”-6” of heavy, wet snow where power issues were a certainty.

The best way to see which parts of the state took the brunt of a particular storm is to tune in several days after the storm passes and networks wind down coverage in a quasi mutual surrender. Once everything bottlenecks down to the worst of the worst, then we can gauge how bad things really were. The storm earlier this March was bringing 30+ waves, major erosion and scattered power outages. As it turned out, the Falmouth blizzard brought us worse conditions. The post storm coverage on the March storm consisted of a running loop of a home on Plum Island that was pushed off its foundation.

At the end of the day, the otherwise comical sensationalism can become reckless and to a degree irresponsible. With a number of seniors in our area, the mere decision of whether or not it may be wise to head to a shelter can be as burdensome as the actual move.

Finally, you have the insurance companies that are starting to push back when it comes to named storms. Recently, the Weather Channel decided that it would name just about any notable storm which further muddies the waters.

Perhaps the larger point is my distain for promotion through fear. Be it the weather guy or a local service that leaves you convinced that your Cape retreat is more of a nuclear reactor with peeling paint; it is poor form to be kind. When I hear the catch words “hazard, catastrophic, devastated…” I think of Japan’s Tsunami. Perhaps the fear peddlers had a hand in dotting the Mid Cape Highway with the helpful evacuation route signs in the event you forget how you got here. Be it good, bad or indifferent, the Nauset Management conditions link relays accurate and timely information to specific to properties in Orleans and Eastham.