Saturday, September 17, 2016

'Fooled Again'

I strongly suggest never bet on a weather forecast...you might be safer gambling on the Cleveland Browns winning the 2017 Super Bowl. Weather forecasters are a lot like politicians...you just can't trust them.

On the weekend of May 27-29/16 inclusive my Executive Assistant (E.A.) and I decided to plant marigolds, coleus (they curb the north side of our driveway) and tomatoes. This has been a yearly spring time custom for us. We both agreed it was a desirable time and the Weather Network (WN) was forecasting a thunderstorm for Hamilton, Ontario. I also chose to spray my backyard for chinch bugs.

Chinch Bugs are extremely annoying and bothersome insects putting it mildly...they are fucking infuriating. They are one-eighth of an inch long and literally suck out the nutrients from the grass stems, instantly killing the turf. The chemical I use is illegal now thanks to that 'caring and wonderful' bird brain ex premier Dalton McGuinty banning many lawn care products in Ontario.

I figured I would "kill two birds with one stone:...do our planting and spray. Professionals have told me I must water after spraying or the chemical won't take effect. Well, the WN was wrong AGAIN...I had to water my backyard, compliments of the City of Hamilton's H2O adding to our water bill...thanks Weather Network for your flawed info as usual.

You may be asking, if I get so irritated about paying for water, why do I plant tomatoes and flowers every year. Like most homeowners we take pride (no, not the parade) in our property and in my opinion if you like tomatoes home grown garden are the best. As far as chinch bugs let me put it this way...YOU DON'T WANT THEM!! Within a very little time frame they will destroy and wipe out your lawn...your lovely green turf will be completely eliminated.

What I'm trying to say is when someone makes a statement, you want to believe and trust the views or facts that person is claiming, not like politicians preaching their falsehood. If I can save a few bucks by not watering my lawn, so be it, and let 'Mother Nature' go to work. But on the flip side our hypocritical municipal politicians always raise our water bill, no matter how much aqua we use. They ask us to conserve water and we do and they still increase our rates...we just can't fucking win!

I don't know the difference between cirrus, nimbostratus or cumulonimbus clouds and don't know the contrast between low and high pressure systems. Unlike politicians, weather forecasters are presumed to be highly skilled and trained in their professions.

However, an article written by Lee Falin PhD in Scientific America on Jan. 9/13 is a bit confusing. He states meteorologists use numerical forecasting (mathematical model) which is a set of equations that can predict an outcome on a set of inputs. I don't know if I have any assurance in "fun with numbers".

Weather forecasters have many other resources, some are very high tech, such as weather satellites. An article in Global.com stated, to design, construct, launch and monitor a weather satellite costs $290 million. The Economist (June 19/16) stated there are 11,000 weather observations throughout the world, aircraft, merchant ships and weather balloons that all contribute to weather information...so how can they be "so off target," more than half the time with all this supreme calibre assistance?

An article in 'How Stuff Works-Science' stated three day forecasts are better than one day forecasts were twenty years ago. From 'Time and Date.com' stated that five day weather forecasts of today are as reliable as two day forecasts were twenty years ago and from 'Physics.org' stated a seven day forecast now is as accurate as a five day forecast was in 1988...I wonder about those statements...are they having "fun with numbers" again like our governments do with statistics.

Here are a few weather predictions and the end results: on May 29/16 at 4:45 p.m. the WN lifted their term risk of thunderstorm, meanwhile later on that evening there was a significant thunderstorm. Remember the heat wave we experienced the week of July 5-8 inclusive, there was a severe thunderstorm watch also listed. Day to day accumulations and probability changed but the sever thunderstorm watch was still a priority. It altered from 70% risk and 5-10 mm of rain to 40% chance and 1-3 mm of rain...on Saturday July 9/16 the severe thunderstorm watch was cancelled and on July 19/16 there was a 60% chance of a thunderstorm...final outcome not a drop of rain...what the hell do they do, roll the dice on those foretells?

I don't know how the WN can predict only a 10% chance of rain with an amount of 2-4 mm as they did on June 26/16...that is a sufficient downpour. Even though it didn't rain, (only having 10% chance) with that kind of quantity 2-4 mm, it puzzles me only a 10% chance. Maybe we should have confidence in cattle...like the old tall tale, when we see cows laying down it's going to rain.]

The United States Weather Service are seldom wrong on predicting hurricanes from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The majority of times they are "right on the money". Although some hurricanes will diminish to tropical storms people still know they are going to receive a heavy cloud burst.

I read an interesting article in the Toronto Sun on June 22/16. Montreal businessman Jacques Guertain, who owns a race track in southeast Montreal is suing independent meteorologist Michel Morissette. Guertin had to cancel an event because Morissette forecasted rain for two days and as usual it was dry as a bone...could this be history in the making?

On June 5/16 very good friends of ours invited us for a barbecue at their home June 11/16. They emphasized they wanted to sit outside for the get together...I can't blame them, it's summer and it's never long enough plus they have a pool. Here are some facts on the weather predictions for that week:
Wed. June 8 - 80% chance of thunderstorms
Thurs. June 9 - 60% chance of thunderstorms
Fri. June 10 - 80% chance of thunderstorms
Sat. June 11 - 40% chance of thunderstorms

On Saturday morning June 11 our friends cancelled their cookout (to a later date) because of the thunderstorm threat was still lingering...I don't fault them, 40% is something to seriously think about...why take a chance...guess what though, you know what I'm going to say...it didn't rain at all, not even a drop. This is just another example why we can't place any faith in weather synopsis. Again, doesn't it remind you of some big organization that operates at three levels.

I have always been curious about some of the forecasters terminology, such as risk, chance and possibility...all three words basically have the same meaning. I recommend they use terms like notion, guess, hunch, I feel it in my bones, my arthritis is acting up, it's going to rain or gut feeling.

Do you ever ponder about the percentages the WN uses for the prospect of rain and snow...the scale is 10-100%. There isn't much difference between 10% and 20% or 80% and 90%. Instead of saying there is a 60% chance of snow maybe they should state  there is a 40% chance it won't snow.

In defense of the WN their prognosis for high and low temperatures, for the most part are correct, especially when it's going to be frigid cold or scorching hot. So why can't they be "on the mark" for snow and thunderstorms specifically probability and accumulation. For what it is worth I do enjoy the smooth jazz song by Jason Carroll titled "Weather Channel".

I realize science, particularly physics is associated with weather. However, it amazes me the tax money spent on all of the technology for weather predictions. You would like to conclude their accuracy would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%. Maybe Reno and Las Vegas should be involved in the weather business...five will get you ten their predictions would be a lot more authentic.

Epilogue

So here is your forecast for tomorrow: risk of thunderstorm with a chance of 10-15 mm of rain. A snow watch is in effect with 70% chance of snow and accumulations of 10-20 cm and a 50% chance of freezing rain. The low will be 10 F. There is also a heat advisory...possible highs will be 100 F. It might be a good idea to pack your winter attire as well as summer apparel. Remember our predictions are a lot more accurate than hey were twenty years ago.

The End
The Harvenut Puritan Project

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