I was at a four-hour swim meet tonight to watch a total of thirty seconds of my daughter swimming. It was her first meet and she did very well. We gave one of her teammates a ride home, and of course the two of them were texting to see what happened while they couldn’t be in contact with the outside world. They found out that both the girls’ and boys’ basketball games had been cancelled because of the weather.
The weather was, and continues to be, fine. But not according to the weather forecasters in Portland who have been working themselves into a lather all day about freezing rain that might arrive sometime before the end of the century. According to NOAA, there is a 10% chance in the late evening of this actually occurring. Not a lot of odds that it would happen, but they don’t care. Even a smidgen of indication that bad weather could happen is enough to give them “Breaking News.”
I believe forecasters embellish bad weather reports to make their ratings go up. If they can get everyone worried about snow on the way or gale force winds, people will stay home and tune in to see when the weather is going to get to their houses and begin wreaking havoc on their lives. Call me old-fashioned, but I can do the same thing by glancing out my kitchen window.
I’m not talking about hurricanes and tornados, which can cause serious damage and are somewhat more predictable because of weather patterns in certain places. I’m talking about snow and freezing rain that can, I suppose, be pretty devastating if you are talking about someone having to pay a tow truck to fish him out of a ditch. That’s expensive. What I’m talking about is the warnings that go on all day long about weather that doesn’t get here, if it arrives at all, until much later, causing needless fear and disruptions. School was cancelled one day last year the night before based on cries of a snowstorm on it’s way. The next day we awoke to dry concrete and a house full of teenagers lolly gagging around making messes and wanting to be driven everywhere.
I know the weather isn’t an exact science, but nobody else seems to grasp this fact. They take forecasts as gospel even though the percentage of correct predictions is about -10.
I had to stop by Wal-Mart and the crowds were outrageous – everyone stocking up on canned goods and flashlights and potato chips to weather out the two-day storm. I was out of gas and waited in a long line at the gas station because people were apparently stocking up on gas, too. Why, I don’t know, because you cannot drive in freezing rain. It’s like running on a frozen pond coated in slime. You just spin your wheels. The officials tell you not to drive unless it’s absolutely necessary, so why stock up on petroleum products?
Just now I glanced outside. No freezing rain. It may get here – but it better hurry up because it’s almost midnight. I must skitter to finish this blog because I’m sure the power is going to go out any second with all that freezing rain weighing down the power lines. Oh, wait, I forgot, it hasn’t come yet. But I just got an email that my writer’s group is cancelled tomorrow morning because the freezing rain will surely be here by then. Would anyone care to make a wager?