Monday, May 7, 2012

WEATHER-WISE OR OTHERWISE

How do they get it so wrong so often? And why, given the dodgy nature of the information, do they spend so much time during the evening news babbling about it?

I'm on about the weather of course. Because I'm freezing. Because "they" told me that we would have 19 degrees today and, silly me, I planned to do the laundry and get a bit of gardening done. Instead it's nowhere near 19 degrees. More like 10 degrees, dark grey, and it's midday already. The indoor thermometer in the unheated room in the house has struggled up to 12 and it's warmer inside than out I can tell you, because I've been out.

They spend more news time on the weather forecasts than they do on real news, such as troubles in the Middle East or famine in central Africa. Almost as much time as they do on sports. They go to town on clever graphics, with golden suns, leaky clouds and wind moving across a virtual landscape so we can see what might be going to happen. Pretty but pointless.

I wouldn't mind if the weather person stood in front of the camera and said s/he thought it might rain in some places, but other places would get some sun, if they were lucky. But maybe not. And the wind would be a bit frisky here and there, but unless the tropical cyclone bashing around some of the islands north of us came down too close we should be alright. Better keep an eye out for the unexpected though, and be prepared.

All that would take a minute, tops. The weather person could even do it off-camera so s/he wouldn't need fancy clothes, especially the women. And it would reflect the actual state of the circumstances, weather-wise, that might be expected the following day. Some of the words could be changed around for the next forecast for a bit of variety but no one would notice. And it wouldn't make a skerrick of difference to our knowledge of what the weather was really going to do in the next twenty four hours.

P.S. That'll teach me not to rush into print before the day's out: I now have egg on my face. It seems that at last, around 4pm yesterday, the temperature climbed to 19 degrees – exactly as forecast. My apologies to weather forecasters everywhere.

The painting is "Waterfront"

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