Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Never trust a meteorologist or weather is a lousy conversation topic

Storm approaching... Prepare or die...

I just love how the local media will strain to overhype anything weather related. During the more temperate months if the sky darkens and the wind picks up in speed, the local big four channels will interrupt any and all programming to begin scanning their respective channel-branded radar systems often named sky-force or (insert channel number)-max warn radar or another 'powerful' or 'intimidating' sounding name.

Yea, to say it's overkill is an understatement.

Then yesterday the local weathermen of the Twin Cities made dire predictions of an approaching winter storm. The National Weather Service does its best to add to the hype by issuing warnings, watches and advisories to whip the masses up into a frenzy and make them run around (buying ice melt, ice scrapers, stocking caps, mittens, boots, gloves, snow blowers, candles, canned food, bottled water, generators, snow blowers and snow shovels) as if they had just seen large slabs of the sky falling onto their neighbor's house, complete with blood-curdling screams from deep beneath the rubble.

This was supposed to be the first winter storm of the season. A healthy snowfall of 5-8 inches was predicted to begin falling early today.

The local newscasts last night, in advance of this fear-inducing storm, ran the standard battery of storm preparedness tips and winter driving warnings because, as we all know, Minnesotans are extremely unfamiliar with a white-colored frozen substance falling from the sky. I have heard rumors that its name is snow. This word is unfamiliar to me, sounds like it might be a Sioux Indian word.

Well, low and behold, I awoke this morning to -- wait -- a semi-damp street in front of our house. The storm's arrival had been pushed until around noon for the swirling winds to begin howling and a temperature plummet not seen during all of recorded history. The predicted totals were also dropped to 3-5 inches. Still enough to 'snarl the rush hour this afternoon'.

I am not holding my breath. Just three days ago there were tornado watches and heavy rain. Chalk it up to just one more colossal miss from our local meteorologists. The way I see it, I'll call this one some light showers with a couple of snowflakes mixed in.

Remember, this prediction is location-specific to south of the Minnesota River so results may vary.

I'll update later when I arrive home again after driving down snowless roadways and hitting the mist button on my wipers only occassionally.

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