Years ago, when I was a teenager, I think, there used to be a local newscast that included a weather portion called “The Weather Outside”. What would seem to be an oxymoron (where else would you find weather but “outside”) was simply a play on words – the guy giving the forecast was actually standing outside, on the street, with his handmade charts and maps. I guess they thought he had a better chance of getting it right if he was actually out there looking at what was going on.
I don’t think anybody does that anymore, and that’s too bad. Like everything else, it’s all computerized. Forecasts are based primarily on mathematical models. As a math guy, I understand that. Modeling the behavior of any process – including the weather – allows us to reasonably predict (usually) what’s going to happen next. Over the long run, we’re likely to be right more often than we’re wrong, assuming the model actually works.
But sometimes it might help just a little if these guys looked out the window. It might just make them wonder if, on a given day, the “model” was getting it right. We’ve had a couple of days here recently when the experts said on the 6:00 o’clock news that the threat of rain was very low for the remainder of the evening. If they’d looked, they might have seen something like the image above.
Or maybe this one.
It was shortly after watching the news (and weather forecast) that we heard people talking outside our window. They were looking at the sky. I’ve seen this kind of sky before (very low ceiling, with strange yellow and green colors at the base) while travelling through the midwest. On one such occasion, a tornado dropped out of the clouds shortly after.
This was just a small thunderstorm – tornados rarely find their way into western NY, especially near the lake. It just seemed strange that this thing appeared overhead shortly after the weather guy said that we would have a “quiet evening” weather-wise, so feel free to “get out and about” (why do all weather people use that phrase?).
Anyway, the cool gloom continues. The good news? No need to run the air conditioner……