top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

A Commitment Problem

Dan Stillman @ 11:05 PM



Today: Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday. Hot and humid with highs 92-96.

Tomorrow: More of the same. Humid with temps climbing once again into the low-to-mid 90s.

The next change of pace comes on Friday when a cold front sweeps through. Temps may reach the low 90s ahead of the front, which will likely trigger showers and thunderstorms.

There's some question whether the front will stall out and give us increased chances of showers and storms over the weekend, or whether high pressure will shield us from the precip. I think the most likely scenario for Saturday and Sunday is high temps in the mid-to-upper 80s and a 30 percent chance of showers or storms, but no washouts.

Stay tuned for updates on the weekend forecast.

Has anyone noticed the confidence crisis meteorologists are having this week? I knew something was up when I saw a forecast for "hit-or-miss" thunderstorms (I'll take "miss," thank you) and a prediction of temperatures "approaching" 90 degrees (you always want to sneak up on 90 with caution of course).

At first I thought this indecisiveness was just happening here in Washington. But as I looked at weather forecasts around the country, it became clear the problem was more widespread. One forecast covered all its bases with "intervals of clouds and sun," while the next called for a chance of rain "after midnight," as if that's a magic hour after which it doesn't matter what time it rains exactly.

It was quickly becoming apparent to me that forecasters everywhere were afraid to take a stand. I had to find out what was going on. After a period of intense research, which some people might call "Web surfing," I discovered that hundreds of the country's top weather experts have descended on the nation's capital this week for three conferences -- the 21st Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, the 17th Conference on Numerical Weather Prediction and the 34th Conference on Broadcast Meteorology -- being held simultaneously all at the same hotel.

Everyone who's anyone in the world of meteorology is attending one or more of these meetings. This is like the State of the Union for weather wonks -- all the top weather gurus in the same place at the same time. What if, God forbid, something terrible happened and all of them were wiped out? You have to hope that at least a few are meeting separately at an undisclosed location.

So it all makes perfect sense now. While our most trusted prognosticators are attending conference sessions titled "A Perfect Smog Storm" and "Put Some Meteors in Your Meteorology," it's been up to the second-stringers -- the morning crew, the weekend shift -- to pick up the slack. And let me tell you, these wishy-washy back-ups are totally lost. Everything's a "chance" of this or a "possibility" of that. When words can't express their uncertainty, they've resorted to graphics like this, or even worse, this.

I could rant all day, but I need to concentrate on deciding whether to take an umbrella to work. I read somewhere that it's supposed to be "partly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain," which as far as I can tell means there's an equal chance it'll be partly sunny with no rain at all. See what I mean. These weather rookies don't have a clue what's going on.

I'm sure everything will be better once the veterans return next week.

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post