The marvels of meteorology and farewell to a former WTAP staffer

Advances in meteorology and goodbye to Charlie Helmick

I often marvel at the meteorologists who predict the weather.

Everyone likes to criticize weather people.  When a public event gets rained out they ask "why didn't you bring us better weather?"

When it rains and none was predicted, they get upset.  When it doesn't rain, and rain WAS predicted, they get upset.

My good friend Glenn Wilson, who did the weather on WTAP for many years, told me that people constantly stopped and asked him about the weather, even though doing the weather was sometimes, the least important thing he did each day.

I often recall Charles Dudley Warner's lament, echoed by Mark Twain,  that "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

Which brings me to this week's weather.

As you may recall, last Sunday was a warm day with temperatures in the 50s. It was still in the upper forties late that evening.

But the National Weather Service folks had studied all of the weather data and computer models, and were convinced a record-setting cold wave was on its way.

And indeed, only 24 hours later, temperatures went below zero.

We take these kinds of predictions almost for granted. You can even get an hour-by-hour weather forecasts for your community, on your cell phone!

For thousands of years, man was at the whim of the weather. And while we still can't control it, meteorologists have the amazing ability to "see" big storms coming when they haven't even formed yet!

What an incredible and life-saving development.

I’d also like to take a minute to say a word about Charlie Helmick, the long-time former engineer here at WTAP who died this week at the age of 76.

Charlie was already at  WTAP when I began my first “tour of duty” in 1981.  He and I stayed in touch over the years, largely via e-mail, as he shared early WTAP history along with suggestions and critiques of our stations.

Condolences from all of us here at TheNewsCenter to Charlie Helmick’s family.

That's this week's editorial.

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