Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 Year of Throwing the Weathermen Under the Bus...

What do the Governor of Georgia, the Mayor of New York City and Governor Christie all have in common? They love to blame the weatherman. Seems the one thing both parties can agree on as no matter what your political affiliation is ... if you have a problem.. blame it on the weathermen!

2014 is definitely the  "Year of Throw the Weathermen Under the Bus... "

Seems the ONLY thing politicians from both parties agree on is if their state has a high profile publicity mess because of a winter storm... blame it on the weathermen!

What happened to those old school politicians who used to feel the buck stops on their desk?

Note... Governor Christie has been complaining about weathermen long before the horrid winter of 2014!

In 2011 he was complaining about weathermen.

""The only two professions in America where you keep getting paid even when you are always wrong affect my life everyday – pollsters and weathermen," Christie said to laughter from the audience in snowy Morris County."

Everyone loves to complain about the weather but Governor Christie takes that to a new bar as he is always complaining about weathermen. Governor Christie in particular must have some deep rooted problems with weathermen. Perhaps he could use a good weather shrink. He has always had major trust issues with weathermen.  Not sure if he had too much snow as a child or not enough, but he obviously expects weather forecasters to be right 100% of the time.  

Note his speech here  where he complaints that weatherman never stand behind their forecast. "It's gonna snow 6 inches or 18 and then when they are wrong they ask what's the difference ... it snowed."   And, then he complains they are right back on the air the next night.  Perhaps Mayor Blazio remembered Christie's speech when he defended his really bad decision not to listen to the National Weather Service's dire warnings unless they could guarantee him exactly a foot of snow. 

One wonders what Governor Christie thinks the consequences of failure for poor forecasts would be. Perhaps flogging in the public square?

In 2014 Christie is still complaining. Recently he cheerfully announced there are two types of people he never listens to.. weathermen and pollsters. Hmnnnn...  

Remember back in early February the Mayor of New York... blamed the weather forecasters for his bad decisions? Al Roker took him to count for that attack on the National Weather Service that gave a stellar forecast for a bad storm in a difficult winter. Perhaps Al Roker could give them all a good mini-class in the difficulties of doing an exact winter forecast. They obviously do not understand how difficult it is and how many variables there are that are all unfolding in real time to give you an exact, perfect forecast. Seems Al and the Mayor Blasio had a sit down and shook hands and made up. Maybe he could find a way to get the word out to government officials everywhere and explain to them how difficult it is to do a perfect forecast. 

There are some forecasters who inspire tremendous respect. Bryan Norcross in Miami was one of them. Greg Fishel in Raleigh is a forecaster that most consider the bottom line as to whether it will or won't snow during any given winter storm.  Mind you he is also famous for being wrong on the half an inch of snow that shut down Raleigh back when and he missed predicting a tornado that tore through town. But, usually he is more right than wrong.
Note how much the writer in the blog above lives and dies by Greg's forecast.

"Eastern NC Blizzard Survival Tips
Y'all, I barely made it home before it began. Rain was starting to fall as I pulled into the driveway late this afternoon. A biting chill filled the air, warning of the fury to come.  Heavy, gray clouds loomed and swirled overhead as I got out of my car and ran for the safety of my house.

Frankly, I'm just thankful to be alive. 

Our local Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel is forecasting the "s" word: SNOW. And let me tell you, nothing pulls the crazy out of us Eastern North Carolinians quite like The Fish's forecast of a little frozen precipitation. Freezing rain, snow, sleet: call it what you want, but you can bet your bottom dollar that anything remotely WHITE and COLD falling from the sky will initiate a SHUTDOWN. It totally blows my mind how we handle Category 5 hurricanes without batting an eye, but throw a little wintry mix our way, and we go into full-throttle PANIC MODE. In order to survive a winter event around here, extra precautions must be taken. As a native Eastern NC girl, I'd suggest the following tips for surviving an Eastern NC blizzard:


So what do you do when the forecast is busted?

Some people go online and lose it ranting how they will never trust a forecaster again....EVER!! is a case in point..

Smart part I can quote:

"I’ve had it with Greg Fishel (the weatherman at WRAL 5).  If you’re reading this Greg (I know you are), what the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you tell me about a goddamned tornado in Raleigh until 10 minutes after it’s already touched down? I never pay attention to you because you’re a weatherman, and weathermen are completely insignificant, but I’m driving home right now through this damn tornado, listening to your dumbass on satellite radio say, “Umm, well here it is, oh wait no…..uh…here it is now, uh….well…just stay inside…”

Then there are more forgiving people:
"We all figured that Greg Fishel owed us for that one. (He's our local weather guy on WRAL TV.) Of course, it was the Raleigh city government that seized the meteorological oversight and turned it into a first class snafu. But, it has been seven years. I suppose if the bankruptcy laws and the bible (Deuteronomy 15:1-2) both say you should forgive debts after seven years we should let Greg off the hook. Besides, forecasting winter weather in central North Carolina is hard and thankless work."

He got that right... it is a thankless job and time and time again governments everywhere blame their own forecasters for forecasts that are on the money but not down to the exact penny. They say to watch the weather carefully on Monday as we may have severe weather. But, because they do not say "at 3PM on Monday a small tornado is going to form and travel directly down US1 and cause a half a million dollars in damage" they are crucified time and time again..

During the Hurricane Season people complain they buy hurricane supplies and then didn't need them because they were in the Cone but didn't get the Hurricane. Rather than getting down on their hands and knees and thanking God for their good luck... they bitch and complain they are out $88 for hurricane supplies they didn't need. Trust me I have been poor and been in that same place, but my father always taught me you got to do what you got to do. So... I went shopping. I sucked it up and lost the money and didn't pull my hair out complaining that my house was still standing when Hurricane Floyd followed the forecast and paralleled the coast and missed Miami.   Yeah a little part of the storm crazy person I am thought "damn" but honestly it was one hurricane I did not want. Did I rely on the NHC forecast? Yes.. but just in case I did some shopping.

I think the biggest difference between Hurricanes and Winter Storms is that we are very aware that Hurricanes are "fickle" and yet for some reason we don't get that Winter Storms are also fickle.. more fickle and sometimes down right sadistic. We can see the hurricane coming for days before it's anywhere in our viewing area and yet winter storms form suddenly overnight sort of under the radar and may don't believe they will come at all.

We glamourize the NHC to almost rock star status and yet we barely pay attention to the NWS. I mean they are the GOVERNMENT agency that predicts the weather and the buck stops there and yet the Board of Education and the NYC Mayor Office totally ignored their forecast?

Seems the National Weather Service is like Rodney Dangerfield.. they can't get any respect.

The NHC has a sort of rock star persona. Everyone stops, drops and listens to the gang at the NHC.

There is a close relationship between the NHC and the Press...and that trickles down to the public.

Perhaps the local NWS needs to start courting the press more or perhaps the public needs to start paying more attention to them. I mean they are on Twitter, Facebook and they even recently updated their website and yet people ignore them.  Why? They even still broadcast 24/7 365 days a year on the Weather Radio that can even be accessed by your phone or your computer.

Lord the NWS is  even on Tumblr...duh what more do you guys want? A banner plane in the sky?

One suggestion tho..if you know a weather person personally and you are afraid it's going to snow on you or rain on you or that little tropical wave out by Africa is going to smash into your neighborhood as a Cat 3 Hurricane in a week to ten days... ask their advice nicely ;)

Hey I know I get more IMs, emails and texts from long lost friends who have not spoken to me since the last time a hurricane threatened their town when they are worried on the weather. Everyone wants perfection. We try out best whether we are amateurs, professionals, On-Air or we work for the government... but we never know for sure. We do our best and weather changes in real time. Perhaps we should be teaching METEOROLOGY and other Earth Sciences in school more than the science we focus on already. Trust me... it's a lot more interesting than Biology and Chemist and for most weather will have a bigger daily impact on their lives when they grow up. People seem to know how to find WebMd faster online than the NWS...

Something to think on...

It used to be that the buck stopped here with government leaders. As people with so much knowledge at our finger tips we should stop taking selfies for a minute or stop playing Angry Birds and check our weather apps.  Stop throwing the weathermen under the bus because weather did what it always rains and snows and sometimes we get thunder and lightning.

Check out the forecast for yourself on Twitter, Facebook or on your own local website.

Learn more about weather and why it is so difficult to predict. If it was easy and boring we wouldn't be talking about it ...would we?

Find a weatherman or woman on TV and keep on top of sudden changes by following them on Twitter. I do.  Phil Ferro or any of the gang there is good.

Note some weather people have Twitter accounts, because they are told to by their stations and use them more for "check me out in five minutes to see if it will rain" and others really know how to talk on Twitter, giving real time information, answering questions and interacting fast during breaking weather times. Like anything in life...choose wisely!

Find a site online you like and then surf around and find some more sites you like...

Start here:

And, remember in the end it is your car... your house... your life... your children's lives and your responsibility to protect those valuables. Make your own call even if it means calling in sick to work and trying to recoup your financial loss later. Better safe than sorry.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

It's going to be a nasty spring gang... very nasty. Severe Weather, Twisters, Floods and then the Hurricane Season.

Weather... it never ends. Get used to it! Winter will leave eventually.... so soon you can all climb out from under your covers and stop blaming the weathermen ;)

Besos Bobbi


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