Friday, January 27, 2017

An icy morning

If I were the editor of the newspaper's weather page things would be different, very different indeed.

First of all, it wouldn't be a "page". This isn't 1926. The Internet can auto generate as much local weather information as my local newspaper bothers with. No, I need a weather section. I want half a dozen independent forecasters, each with unique approaches and with specific, exhaustive forecasts. These half dozen forecasters can include a couple of meteorologists, but I'd like to see a witch in there too, a statistician, an animal forecaster, and maybe a local farmer. I want their track records too, with detailed accuracy stats. And I want their hourly forecasts, day forecasts, week forecasts, their month forecasts, and maybe something about the next couple of seasons. Lay it on thick. Maps, plenty of chatter about different short term weather possibilities, and what led them to their conclusions. I could read the weather section for hours.

And when they're wrong I want a printed apology. I'd like one right now, for instance. It could go something like this:

Dear Readers:

I am covered in shame. Yesterday I predicted a grey morning with temperatures in the mid thirties. I am sorry to have to say that at ten in the morning it was still only 27 degrees out. While eight degrees of error may not seem like a huge difference to some of you, to others it had to be infuriating. Not only do eight degrees present quite a bite, but crucially, for our walking readers, those eight degrees change the very nature of our sidewalks. At 35 degrees they are, as our snow melt currently stands, a bit splashy, but with reliable, pleasant footing. At 27 degrees they are spotted with invisible ice and are veritable deathtraps. I know this because one of our readers sent me 22 very angry emails on this issue. To this Mr Calypso, who was so kind to let me know, over and over, and to everyone else who was so adversely affected, I humbly apologize, and will endeavor, in the near future, to do as well as our forecasting pigeon, who pecked at the dish that said "Twenties", and was the clear winner in weather prognostication on this page for the third day running.

Once again my sincerest apologies for the difficulties I have caused in my errant computer modeled predictions.

-The Meteorologist

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