Mon Jan 12 13:19:37 PST 2009
EXACTLY what's going to happen in the weather?
It's not unusual to be approached for an off -the-cuff forecast when I'm out in public.
Typically people will want to know how cold it's going to get tonight, or if school will be called off tomorrow.
Some of these questions I can answer... how cold the forecast is... if snow is likely... but when it comes to calling off school, that's entirely someone else's call.
It does give you an idea of how people approach the weather, though.
Most of the general public want a "Yes or No" response. Will it Snow? Will School be called off? Can I get to work? Should I rent a tent for my daughter's wedding?
This last one doesn't seem to be that odd a request... until you realize the question is being posed 10 months in advance of the wedding date!
The problem is that it is not an exact science.
There are a LOT of variable in the weather, and they combine in different ways.
A good example is the chance of precipitation. Usually, this is given as a percentage.... like 40%.
Oh, you hear a lot of different interpretations, ranging from "40% of the area will see rain" to "There's a 40% chance that everyone will see rain tonight."
Neither are correct, but people still tell each other this, and it contributes to the general distrust of the weatherman.
If weather were an exact science, we'd never have any variability in our lives.
We'd KNOW when it would rain, and when it wouldn't.
And how boring would that be?