Too Much Weather

I’m not talking about the rain. There has been too much rain lately with more on the way. I miss our dry hot summers. Maybe we can get a nice, cool, dry October. I doubt it. Anyway, I mean there are too many people out there giving weather forecasts. You have the TV weather guys, the newspaper weather guys, former TV weather guys with a website, amateur weather guys with Facebook pages, science teachers with a Facebook group, etc.  There’s too much weather out there.

Anyone with a computer and an interest in the weather can become a social media weather guy. I could start a page right now in less than five minutes and start posting my thoughts on the weather. It wouldn’t make me an expert. It would just make me a guy with a computer and time on his hands. I could probably still get a few people to follow me and, if I guessed right a few times, swear that I am the most reliable weather guy on Facebook.  Maybe I should experiment by posting weather guesses on my Tater page and see what happens.

There are multiple problems with the multiple weather guy issues. TV weather guys need viewers. Retired weather guys with a website and a business needs clients and clicks. Random weather enthusiasts feel good about the number of people following their page. How do you get the attention? HYPE! Sensational posts and headlines highlighting the worst case scenario. Push for the idea that the NWS snow totals are low and we could get a massive snowstorm instead. Pick the model that shows the hurricane will come closest to the area and cause the most damage. Who cares if you create unnecessary panic. You got some extra hits and some more money from ads and clients. You got some more people liking your weather page. More people are watching the news. This is what it’s all about, right? Not accuracy. Accuracy is for nerds.

There’s also the “I don’t really know what I’m doing” issue. These are the guys who are weather enthusiasts, but don’t really know how to read the models properly This is who I would be if I started a page. I can look at a radar and a model forecast and make some guesses about what will happen, but it really is just a guess. If I guess right a few times, people will think I really am an expert. When I’m wrong I will just throw out some meteorological babble that sounds good and gives me a reason why I couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. I don’t think these guys are purposely trying to fool people. I think they like the weather and like trying to forecast it. The problem here is the people who use them as their main weather source. Why are you asking them about the forecast instead of going to more legitimate sources? Do you think the rest are fake new?

An example of the bad weather forecasts: Yesterday, the Washington Post weather people, the TV weather people and the one weather guy I trust on Facebook(Christopher Bressi) all said our area could expect 2-4 inches of rain from Florence based on the current models. Pretty good agreement there. It could change because models can be wrong, but for right now, that was the estimate from almost everyone. Soon after these forecasts were released, a guy with a Facebook group put out a post that the area would get 5-7 inches of rain. That’s 3 more inches than anyone else is projecting. That is a significant difference and there are people who will only read what he said and not the rest. Where did he get these numbers?

So, be careful who you are trusting when it comes to weather forecasts in the case of extreme weather.

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Tuesday Tater Hot Take: Maryland Gets Hot

We are entering another stretch of extreme heat. Temperatures in the 90’s with a heat index above 100. This is not unusual for Maryland. Maryland gets hot and humid in the summer. This summer heat can start as early as May and can extend in to September. The heat is not a shock. This is Maryland weather.

Even though this heat is not unusual, there are several schools in the area without air conditioning. Every year, either at the beginning or the end of the school year, there are closings and delays alerts for schools being closed or closing early due to heat. Every year. For some reason, even though this is an every year thing, the local school systems don’t think putting AC in the schools is a priority. I guess they don’t think school disruptions matter enough to spend money on AC. It seems like a small investment to make sure students and teachers have a comfortable space for learning.

My daughter just moved in to her dorm at the University of Maryland. She, like her brother his freshman year, does not have AC in her dorm. Multiple emails have gone out with advice on how to “beat the heat” and now emails telling them they are putting mattresses in air-conditioned common areas and opening them for people to sleep if necessary. My daughter spent her first weekend at college at home because she couldn’t sleep in her room with temps at 90 degrees. She went back this morning just in time for her first class. We toured a lot of colleges last year. Maryland seems to be the last hold out in updating their dorms. I guess they think other things are more important. I’m not asking them to build luxury dorms. The traditional dorm is still fine, just add AC. We aren’t north enough to not have AC.

I know there are people who think “I didn’t have AC when I was in school and I was fine” but I disagree with that thinking for a coupe of reasons. First, I don’t think “it was good enough for me” is a good argument against advancement or updates. Shouldn’t we be working to make the world a better place? Even if that just means giving our kids a place where they can learn comfortably? Second, the world is getting hotter. These extreme temperatures are going to become more common. We have to be prepared for this. This is not the same world we lived in 30 years ago. Also – I had AC in my small town school in Kentucky 30 years ago and AC in my dorm in Kentucky. You’re way behind Maryland.

Dreary Weather, Dreary Mood

We were in India during monsoon season. It rained a little there, but most of the days were dry. It did flood in Mumbai and Delhi while we were there, but we were spared the really bad rains. We are making u for that now that we are home. We are on our 5th straight day of heavy rain in the forecast. It hasn’t rained for 5 straight days.  Saturday was a total washout. It started raining in the morning and rained all day. I don’t have a rain gauge, so I don’t know what the totals were,  but I know were probably got at least 5 inches of rain in the one day. The rest of the days have had some dry points and occasional sun, but the threat of heavy rain has been there. After a break on Monday where my house barely got any rain, we had a deluge yesterday morning. Some areas have reported over a foot of rain since Saturday. I think even people who love rain have to be sick of it by now. I’m ready to go back to our typical hot and sunny summer.

This constant dreary weather has not been good for someone who is already in a dreary mood. My daughter has her housing assignment and we are now officially less than a month away from her moving in to her dorm. I have less than a month before I start spending many hours alone and no one would want to spend many hours alone with me. Couple that with career and job dissatisfaction. Add in the aforementioned weather and it does not make for the best of moods.

I can’t change the empty nest thing, but I can make it easier by finding ways to fill the time besides sitting on the couch watching TV.  I may not be able to change the job, but I can try either find some good or at the very least not take the bad home with me. I can’t change the weather and I can’t find any way to find good in constant rain, so I’m going to need the sun to come back so I can at least enjoy some time reading on my deck.

Some Quick Tater Thoughts

I don’t seem to have it in me to write a long thought on anything lately. Here are a few quick thoughts on random things.

Blog Envy – I follow a few blogs that have existed for a year or less and they have posted that they already have thousands of followers. I’ve been posting regularly for over a year(the blog has existed way longer) and I still have not even hit 200 followers. Obviously, I am not good at building an audience. I don’t foresee that changing. I will continue to be happy to hit 500 views for the month That seems a reasonable goal for me.

Teenagers – I used to work with a church youth group. I was in my 20’s and 30’s and had no teens of my own. I taught middle school Sunday School, went to and sometimes led the youth group meetings, went to summer camps and winter retreats, etc. I then took a long time off after we changed churches and my kids entered youth group. I have chaperoned a youth trip each winter now for a few years and just did it again this past weekend. It is very different going as a parent and not knowing most of the teens on the trip. It’s more fun when you know the kids well and they want to spend time with you(or at least pretend they do)

Winter – We keep getting little nuisance snows. I have not had a snow day yet. I got to go home early one day. I really need a snow day. This winter is not cooperating.

Super Bowl – I will watch the Super Bowl. I always watch the Suer Bowl. I will be cheering for the Eagles this year not because I like them, but because I really don’t like the Patriots. I will be more interested in the commercials this year than the game. I hope they don’t disappoint me.

State of the Union – I never watch. I read the speech the next day in the paper. I will do the same this year. I will be watching Kentucky basketball instead.

That’s all I’ve got. Off to work.

 

Closed Due to Unusually Clement Weather

I think it’s time the world adopt my idea I’ve been pushing for a while. Clement weather days.

Every winter schools, offices and businesses close down due to inclement weather. Everyone gets a day to stay at home. Most of us are happy. When you have small children, you spend time outside building a snowman or just watching the kids enjoy the snow.  It all sounds nice and fun and it is, but there are problems with this scenario. It is cold outside, eventually you will have to shovel the driveway and the kids will grow up. I still like my snow days. I have no problem with the new reality of spending them with my daughter binge watching some sitcom on Netflix. I will still enjoy them next year when she’s away at college and I will be watching TV alone. I will still enjoy them, but I will still have to shovel snow eventually and it will be cold.

Today it is in the 60’s here. This is after a long stretch of very cold weather, some snow, and a little bit of ice. We had wind chills of below zero. Today feels like summer in comparison. Today is the day I want to stay away from work. Not the days when you don’t want to go outside. So, I propose clement weather days. When it is forecast to be 60 degrees and sunny in the middle of winter in an area where it is usually cold schools, offices and businesses will close down so everyone can enjoy the brief respite from winter. I think it would improve the mood of the entire community and relieve winter stress.

Sure there will be the same issues with this as there are with snow days. Some years schools will call a clement day early and it won’t get as warm as forecast or it will rain. Not every plan is perfect.

I think this is a winning idea. I might win a Nobel for this one.

 

Regularly Scheduled Post Delayed Due to Snow

I was prepared to write a post today about running away. I thought I had plenty of time to do that because I was sure we would get enough snow to force at least a delayed opening at the library today. I was confident when I woke up and saw a pretty significant snowfall at my house. I was confidant that any minute I was going to get a text telling me to take my time getting ready. I was confidant as I sat and leisurely drank my coffee and read the newspaper. I was confidant up until the time we passed the magic hour when a decision would be made. At that point, I was confidant that I needed to go out and shovel the 2+ inches of snow off my driveway so I could get to work on time. I was actually early because no one else was on the roads today. So, this is what you get today. Maybe the regularly scheduled post will appear tomorrow.

I will leave you with a picture from outside my office. Significantly less snow here than at my house(where I failed to take a picture)

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