I was just like all of you for the past week or so. I was on pins and needles just waiting for it to snow on Sunday and Monday. I canceled plans, changed my work schedule a little, and hunkered down in anticipation of more snow. I even went to the camping department at Walmart and bought some logs for the fire place. I was ready for the snow, but it never showed up.
Whenever I mention that I would love to be a weather person, make six figures a year, and not have to be right, I get indignant emails from people insisting that being a weather predictor is not as easy as it sounds. All I know is that any meteorologist who works for the military is held accountable for too many faulty weather predictions. Meanwhile, the civilian guys seem to have a pretty poor track record.
I could handle inaccurate weather forecasts if it weren't for the fact that even the weather people on television use scare tactics to get people to follow their forecasts. Prior to Sunday's expected snow storm, the National Weather Service and all of the local weather channels put out warnings for days about the pending snow. Get to the grocery store, protect the children, batten down the hatches! What? You already battened down the hatches? Well batten them down again, we'll teach those hatches!
Weather reports should be accompanied by a confidence level. I am not talking about the whole 50 percent chance of rain thing that seems to run continually from March to June. I mean some kind of gauge on how confident the weather people are in their predictions. You say it is impossible? I beg to differ. Check this out:
When you click on that link and hover your mouse pointer over any part of the forecast, you get an indication as to how certain they are about their predictions. A green corner of the box means they are certain, a yellow corner means they are somewhat uncertain, and a red corner of the box means they are uncertain about the forecast. This allows these guys to tell people that the forecast is likely to change based on the potential weather conditions without going into all of the science stuff we don't understand.
We get meaningless percentages that are really no help at all. What does a 10 percent chance of rain mean versus a 30 percent chance? How much does that 20 percent matter, or does it even matter at all? All you need to do is say; "Right now, it is looking like it could snow but that could change by Sunday." Then keep us updated as the day gets closer.
Instead, we get: "RUN FOR THE HILLS! IT'S GONNA SNOW! HOLY COW! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?"
The entire American media is based on fear. The fear of how an unraveling situation could affect you keeps you glued to your television sets, and fear of a blizzard wiping out your Sunday picnic keeps you clicking on the website. I'm tired of every aspect of the media playing on our fears to make money. Just give us the real information and let us process it how we want. I mean, when you can't even check the weather without the media trying to scare you, what's left?
George N Root III is a miserable old man who complains about anything. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.