Monday, February 8, 2010

weather prediction

A house full of people is a house full of different points of view -- Maori proverb


It never fails to amaze me how different people can look at the same thing and have completely opposite reactions. Many heated debates have arisen over the fairness of a referee’s call, political events, dogs versus cats, and perhaps the most passionate topic: weather prediction tactics.

For example, just last week we celebrated what is perhaps the strangest “holiday” on the calendar: groundhog day. That is the day when we yank a hibernating woodchuck out of its hole and flash bright lights in his face at the crack of dawn to see if it frightens him. If he is, indeed, frightened and anxious to get back to his hole, then we will have 6 more weeks of winter. Don’t worry, though. We give the hedgehog a cute little name: Punxsutawney Phil!

This fun little event takes place in Pennsylvania. On February 2nd. Is there anyone out there who actually thinks that winter in Pennsylvania will end before March 17th? Let’s face it: 6 more weeks of winter IS an early spring! I live in Massachusetts. On February 2nd, I’m looking at 12 more weeks of winter! At least! I certainly don’t need a chipmunk to tell me that!

At the end of the week, we had a weather dilemma of another sort: the weathermen said we were EITHER going to get walloped with a snowstorm OR cold air from Canada would move in and push the storm out to sea. (You would think all the hot air out on Capitol Hill would have the same effect but no, Washington DC is buried) By noontime on Thursday, we practically had a betting pool going in the staff room: SNOW or NO?

Suddenly, I had a flash of genius! “I will get to the bottom of this!” I said. “By 3:00 today, I will know definitively whether we are getting snow or not” I spent the next three hours asking every person with arthritis (and one person with an internal fixation of her femur) if we would be getting snow. The result? 100% no. “Nope. No snow coming.”

Arthritis: a much more accurate meteorologist than a squirrel.

Finally, this weekend, K was paging through The Farmer’s Almanac. “Geez,” he said. “Could this thing be any more vague? ‘Winter will be cold. Possibly with snow. Summer will be warm. And humid.’ I could’ve written it.” (Well, him or a guinea pig)

Just then, J came walking in. “What are you guys talking about?”

“The Farmer’s Almanac.”

“Isn’t that thing amazing? I don’t know HOW they get everything so spot on. It’s mind boggling!”

It certainly is.

2 comments:

Carolina John said...

people never cease to amaze me. just in general. sometimes at their stupidity, sometimes it's funnier than that.

geekhiker said...

Interestingly, I was reading something the other day where there might be some factual basis to the whole groundhog thing. Apparently, they hibernate, poke their head out of the ground in February to see what's going on, and if winter is still going full-force, they'll go back inside and back into hibernation. Fascinating, no?

That almanac, though, wow. Totally accurate. ;)