I think that the time has come for all of us to admit that we cannot honestly call those television meteorologists weather forecasters any longer. Those people who show up on TV and give the impression that they know what the weather is going to do are, it must be said out loud, only making guesses.
On Thursday night, Oct. 12, I watched as those TV weather-phonies declared to the Western New York area: "We'll get maybe 1 to 3 inches of snow, but we're not going to get what the Upper Peninsula of Michigan got today. They got 18 inches of snow. But our precipitation will be mostly rain."
I checked the Internet site of the National Weather Service. There was a big blob of something really strange-looking on the radar, and it was headed straight toward the Buffalo area. I looked back at the TV -- "Hey, you guys, don't you see this, too?" But the phonies were smiling and checking their makeup.
Of course, the next morning we all woke up to 2 feet (that's 24 inches) of heavy, wet snow that broke branches and trees throughout Western New York and brought power lines down everywhere. Snow fell for 16 hours. It was a disaster that resulted in declaration of a state of emergency, FEMA involvement, a number of deaths and school and business closings for a week or more.
Four hundred thousand people were without electricity, and right now they are saying that some households will not be restored until this weekend. Property damage is estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.
The weather guessers have tried to explain that they didn't know how cold it was in the upper ionosphere Thursday night, and that's why their predictions were wrong. Sorry about that! It reminds me of a certain politician whining that he didn't know about those suggestive e-mails to that 17-year-old page.
The weather guessers all claim to be certified meteorologists. What does it mean to be a certified meteorologist? Well, I found out that they all go to the Your Guess Is As Good As Mine School of Meteorology in Stupidsville, Iowa. Tuition is $87,000 for classes that include makeup application and pointing at symbols. After six days, they graduate with a dart board and a quarter to flip.
Now, I realize that the snowstorm would have been no less disastrous if it had been correctly predicted. But it galls me no end that the weather guessers on TV are unable to forecast events even minutes before they begin to occur, and then they make excuses for their incompetence.
We need to start thinking of their weather forecasts as merely suggestions of possible future conditions, and we need to get as smart as they are by reading a copy of "Weather for Dummies."
Elizabeth Williams shovels snow in Clarence.1