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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Storm of the Century! (#22)


     I guess the weather people did it to us again. I live in the northeastern United States, and prepared for what the experts at the Weather Channel were calling, “The Storm of the Century.” They had predicted a massive blizzard with the possibility of up to 3 feet of snow, hurricane force winds of 80 miles per hour, drifting snow, frigid temperatures, white-out conditions, and the possible extinction of all life in a 250 mile swath of heavily populated areas from Philly to Boston.
     Major cities like Philadelphia and New York became ghost towns as airports canceled flights, businesses closed down, transit systems stopped running, and authorities ordered all non-essential vehicles off the streets. Thousands of snow plows loaded with salt, parked and waited, as eager operators prepared for what could only be described as Armageddon. I heard it was so crazy, homeless people were attaching plows to the front of their shopping carts!
     I spent a day preparing for the impending blizzard. I fought my way through supermarkets devoid of bread, milk and eggs, gassed up my generator, unloaded 200 pounds of ice melt from my truck, placed a cord of wood by my fireplace, and made sure I loaded my hunting rifle, in case packs of hungry wolves attacked in a desperate search for food.

     This morning I woke up early, bundled in four layers of clothing, put on snow shoes, grabbed my rifle and a shovel, and headed outside to face hours of unknown danger and back-breaking work. Reaching my wife’s car……. I gently wiped the ½” of powdery snow off with my gloves, pulled my dog out of a four inch snow drift, headed back in, grabbed a cup of coffee, and woke my wife to get ready for work.
     Could someone, please help me understand something. My Grandfather could look at the moon a day or two before an impending storm, smell the air, wet a finger and hold it up to gauge wind speed and direction, and calmly say,
“Looks to be about eight inches of wet snow, and it will all melt by Tuesday.” And he’d be right!
     Heck, between the Farmer’s Almanac, and checking the amount of fur on Wholly Bear Caterpillars in the fall, he could accurately predict the entire winter seasons snow totals and average temperatures.
     How can today’s meteorologists with incredible resources, which include: multiple satellite pictures, surface and upper air data, ocean buoys with temperature readings, and extensive radar images, not accurately predict the weather at least 50% of the time? I think, the only time they get it right is if you live in Seattle, Washington, San Francisco, California, or Phoenix, Arizona. All they have to say every day is,
“Seattle will have rain, San Francisco will be cool and foggy, and Phoenix will be sunny and hot.”
     This morning a weatherman said, “Whoops….. Sorry about that folks. My Bad. Last night after everyone went to bed, the storms track was deflected slightly by an upper atmospheric high, which pushed most of the heavier snow either out to sea or to northern Maine.” They did get that right. I just got off the phone with Bullwinkle the Moose from just outside Madawaska, Maine, and he said the snow was almost to his antlers, and still coming down.
     I think the problem with modern weather forecasting is, instead of using common sense, they rely on complicated numerical weather prediction systems based on computer models. In layman’s terms, it means they throw darts at a big board with different types of weather on it.
     I was watching the local weather on TV last night, and they were predicting the storms track using different computer models. They included: GFS (Global Forecast System), NAM (National American Mesoscale), a European Model, and something called RAP. RAP? I think I might have found the problem with weather forecasts. If they'r getting weather predictions from Kanye West, Lil Wayne, 50-Cent, Snoop Dog, and Jay Z; I think we’re all in big trouble!

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