A Pox on Weathermen!

This whole weekend did nothing but confirm what we’ve all known all along: weathermen, as a whole, are completely clueless when it comes to predicting the weather. I was checking three or four different weather forecasts each day, trying to figure out what was going to happen. Rain? Snow? Ice? How much? Each forecast said something different. And you know what?

None of them ended up getting it right.

Take last night. All of them said we’d get snow. Amounts ranged from 2-7 inches. We didn’t end up getting any accumulation at all.

Oh, I suppose they get it right every now and then. (And whichever weather genius came up with the “probability of precipitation” idea deserves an award for weaselly.) But think of what it would be like if other professions got things wrong as often as weathermen. What if your doctor said to you, “We ran some tests, and we’re pretty sure you have cancer.” How sure? “Eighty percent.” Or what if your lawyer told you there was a 60 percent chance you hadn’t broken the law and wouldn’t go to jail?

People make fun of groundhogs predicting the weather, but when you get down to it, are they any less accurate than weathermen? How sad is that? What are we paying these people to do, anyway? Guess? I could do that for free.

“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

3 thoughts on “A Pox on Weathermen!”

  1. It’s not just weathermen
    Actually, your doctor should be saying things like, “I’m 80% sure you have cancer,” and lawyers are even less certain. That’s the kind of thing I teach.
    The vast majority of things in life are dependent on probability and certainty is generally an illusion (or lack of education). May I suggest the book “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow.
    Sorry about the weather though. Maybe there will be something pretty before the spring mud.

  2. Re: It’s not just weathermen
    Point taken. I’ll have to check out that book sometime–although maybe I don’t want to know how randomness rules my life.
    Question for you–do you believe randomness rules your life?

  3. No. And neither does Leonard Mlodinow. Even with the random nudges in life, I still believe I choose my fate to a large extent and that there is an order to the universe. Still, order in the universe is not something that is necessarily easy to perceive.
    Everyone encounters randomness often in life and needs to recognize it for what it is. You can try to make up a meaning for random events, if it helps you, but acting on the “meaning” of random things is very dangerous. The point of understanding randomness is so that you can prevent it from ruling parts of your life that it shouldn’t rule.
    I guess that got a bit off topic.

Leave a comment