The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Friday, June 04, 2004

The Ten Day Forecast 

Probably the most useless invention of the weather man. As time goes by, my opinion of weather men (I'm sorry... meteorologists) only gets lower and lower. They claim to be scientists, but really they've sunk to the depths of any other journalist. (I very specifically say journalist rather than reporter... more on that in another post). Anyone who has watched the hype and hoopla that goes on during a thunderstorm in Milwaukee knows just what I mean. However I digress.

The Ten Day Forecast. It really isn't a forecast. Its not accurate. I've been watching the forecast for Sunday when I have my triathlon. The first triathlon I did was last September, and it rained. The roads were wet and it kinda sucked. Now I have a new bike with a much thinner tire... which means that rain would be bad... really bad. So I guess I'm a little worried. And nothing helps your worrying like fixating on the thing that worries you. So I've been watching the Ten Day Forecast on Intellicast. It changes every day. The first time I saw it, it was going to be rainy and in the upper fifties (September flashback). The next day it was sunny and lower 60's. Then rainy but upper 60's. Then sunny and 70's. Then rainy and 70's. Now its 70's... but with the every so small hint of a possibility of a thunderstorm. The forecast actually says "Stray Thunderstorm". How do you get a stray thunderstorm? Its not a lost dog after all.

The local weather men are no better. Their reports take forever... mostly because they repeat the exact same thing about 3 different ways, and in a rather incoherent matter I might add. Not only that (and here is the real rub), they pretend like they are more accurate than they really are. When they tell you what tomorrows temperature is going to be, they give a map of the entire Southeastern part of the state, and say this city will be 65, this city will be 67, etc. Just say its going to be in the mid to upper 60's. Done. One local station has Future Forecast where they try to tell you down to the city block practically where it will rain tomorrow. As if! If they were true scientists, then they would know better than to forecast more accurately than their measurements can predict.

But when a thunderstorm rolls through... holy cow. They pop in to interrupt the show you're watching every 5 minutes (never during a commercial of course) to "Keep Us Safe From the Storm". They tell you that the storm will be rolling through Franklin at 6:25, Greenfield at 6:27, South Milwaukee at 6:29. You're kidding right? Do I get to sue the TV station if I get struck by lightning in Greenfield at 6:26 because I was outside when I thought I would be safe? How about... The storm is rolling through the area and will be out of here by 6:45. Expect lighting and moderately sized hail. That took 1 minute. Done. Back to regularly scheduled programming. Of course that's not quite true, because by the time they're done, they switch us back just in time for a commercial. Doh!

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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