Barley's

Barley's
Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Does "Weather.com" Imply Some Degree of Expertise About the Weather?

The World's Foremost Authority Professor Irwin Corey.
I'm not the kind of guy who worries too much about the weather. At least I'm not since moving from South Florida to South Carolina's Upstate. There's just something about living 200-plus miles from the coast that greatly diminishes the impact of hurricanes, no matter where they make landfall. “Let them eat cake,” is my knee-jerk reaction now upon hearing of a tropical storm turning into a hurricane and plowing toward the coast.

What has me pondering weather is my freshly completed Dallas trip to shoot segments for BEER2WHISKEY. I drove away from DFW airport around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, checking in for my flight home about 2 p.m. on Saturday. During that period I shot two Fort Worth breweries, two Dallas breweries and one Garland brewery, in addition to taking all day on Friday to slog the four-and-a-half hours to Hye, Texas and back to video a B2W episode with Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distillery. Nearly all of the 600 miles or so I traversed around north and central Texas was in rain of Biblical severity.

Where it wasn't raining was the 40-or-so miles between Austin and Hye where the fog was so thick you could have cleared it with a shovel. Compounding the precipitation and condensation were temperatures in the 30s and 40s. The nasty weather was simply relentless.

Here's my beef (You knew there was going to be one, right?). As I prepared to pack the day before my flight to Dallas, I went the Website of the Weather Channel to check out the Dallas-area forecast for the week. Silly me.

Weather.com. Sounds like an authoritative site doesn't it? I mean, it has “weather” in its URL. It's operated by the Weather Channel, for crying out loud. “The Weather Channel” would indicate that it specializes in weather, yes? Perhaps I'm just jumping to the conclusion that when it posts forecasts, they might possess some degree of reliability. But, that's just me.

I would love to be able to go back, snap a screen shot and include it here of Weather.com's 5-day forecast for Dallas 20 hours before I landed there. They sort of had the precipitation right; although there were a couple of days where their guess on its rain probability was down to 20 percent. There was never a snowflake's chance in hell of it not raining in Dallas last week. Zero, zip, zilch, nada! Rain is too timid a term for what went on there Wednesday afternoon through Saturday morning. It was rainageddon. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria! You get the picture.

So, I'll give Weather.com a B minus for its precipitation prognostication, but what's a weather forecast without predicting some daily high temperatures? Here I would have done as well asking the 5-year-old girl across the street for her guess, after, of course, explaining to her what temperature is.

With all the authority of Baghdad Bob, Weather.com promised afternoon temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s (67 to 71, to be more exact). On Wednesday it was actually 39 degrees. On Thursday it was 41 degrees. And on Friday it was a relatively balmy 52 degrees. How is it that an outfit specializing in predicting the weather missed the next day's (20 hours later to be more precise) by about 30 degrees? 30 degrees!

Where was Professor Irwin Corey when I could have used him?

There's no such thing, really, as an exact science. But, science is science. Is meteorology a science? I looked it up. ScienceDaily says it is, along with just about every other Website. Well, apparently not.

College campus visitor: “Hey, excuse me. Can you point me toward the Meteorology Department?”
Helpful student: “Sure, it's right there between the Astrology and Palm Reading departments.”

As many times as I've been burned by Weather.com under similar circumstances, it's prediction for Dallas temps didn't strike me as ridiculously optimistic. I've spent a lot of time in Dallas. It gets cold, but this time of year afternoon temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s aren't out of the norm. I packed accordingly. In the words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”

Fortunately, I planned on wearing long-sleeved, collared shirts for the video shoots and packed those. I also always have a wind breaker/rain jacket in my suitcase. I wasn't left completely at the mercy of the elements and Weather.com's lackluster experts. But, damn close.

Next time I'll consult the Psychic Channel. At least in addition to a Hail Mary forecast I may also get some idea of when I'll meet the woman of my dreams.

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