Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another Goddam Sunny Day

... just kidding. I love getting up to blue skies and sunlight.

Forecasting weather here is difficult. Back when KOHD-TV had their local news, meteorologist Adam Clark explained to me how the Cascades between us and most incoming fronts really throw a monkey wrench into predictions. And not having a NEXRAD radar that covers Central Oregon doesn't help matters.

Most of the time it looks like the results that come from even the most careful examination of the data and models are about as accurate as throwing a dart at a board.

So I don't envy anyone who has the job of going on-air to tell folks what to expect over the next few days. Even getting tomorrow's weather right looks nearly impossible.

For example, two days ago, KTVZ's Ben Burkel warned us that following Tuesday's lovely weather, the next several days were going to get ugly.

But yesterday was actually kind of nice, even during mid afternoon when it clouded over and the rain kind of spit in a half-hearted way. At least it was warm: the thermometer in front of the 3rd street branch of the Bank of the Cascades showed 70 degrees. Late afternoon was spectacular, to me. A bit breezy, but sunny, mild, with brilliant sunshine. Today has started out lovely.

Now, Ben seems an affable sort. He does smile a lot. And he's not to be blamed for getting predictions so consistently wrong. Even the supercomputers that run the models seldom get it right for where we live.

But I wish he'd just spend a moment to explain why yesterday's prediction didn't happen, rather than just acting as if it never happened. I'd like that.

And I'm not alone.

The fellows at the Bond Street Barber Shop and I were talking about this a couple weeks ago while I was getting my hair cut (I get the "easy money" haircut: a number 3-and-a-half clipper buzz). We agreed that it would be right nice if Ben were to say, "Yesterday I said it would rain, but it didn't. Here's why," and then went on to give a few words about what screwed up the prediction.

This would not only give us a little insight into the factors that make his job so difficult, but would allow us to more easily forgive him for smilingly telling us yesterday that it would be raining today, when we are looking at a sunny sky.

Not that this morning's weather means anything. It could change in a heartbeat. It could be snowing in 30 minutes.


  1. If you think KTVZ's forecasts are inaccurate, try the one at the top of the front page of The Bulletin.

    It is indeed very hard to accurately predict weather in Bend, and I think much of that is due to its proximity to the mountains. Whether a day is mostly sunny or mostly cloudy (and maybe rainy) often depends on how many clouds get past the mountains and spread out over the high plateau.

  2. Nice photo of Mrs. Elliott, but who's the goddamn old hippie with her?

  3. Ben always grins. Whether the forecast is glorious or shitty, he always grins. Very irritating. But I guess that's what they're taught to do in TV meteorologist school.


------------ Facebook update page widget added 3/2012 --------------
------------ ends facebook update page widget -------------