When In Doubt, Blame The Weatherman… Again

georgia snow

When in doubt, blame the weatherman! Maybe there was a time that worked. It doesn’t anymore. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, understands that better today than yesterday.

Tuesday at 10:00 AM, as a crippling snow and ice storm was moving through the south, Governor Deal said,

“At that time it was still, in most of the forecasts, anticipated that the city of Atlanta would only have a mild dusting or a very small accumulation if any, and that the majority of the effects of the storm would be south of here. Preparations were made for those predictions.”

Except those weren’t the predictions.

Here’s a segment of the NWS Area Forecast Discussion from Tuesday at 4:11 AM:



The governor has now been taken to task by pretty much everyone who knows the definition of the isobar!

Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist with the University of Georgia and president of the American Meteorological Society, said neither meteorologists nor the forecast for the Atlanta area was to blame.

“The buses had a tough time getting kids home, but meteorologists should not be thrown under the bus,” he said.

At 3:39 a.m. Tuesday, Marshall said the weather service issued a winter storm warning for the entire Atlanta metro area, expecting 1-2 inches of snow. “Overall, the Atlanta event was a well-forecasted and well-warned event,” he said. – USAToday

This reminds me of Connecticut’s Halloween snowstorm of 2011. You remember Jeff Butler, the president of CL&P.

“But I will assure you, when we had the weather forecast and everything we looked at in preparation for this storm, the amount of snow, which ended up being the problem, was far more significant than what had been forecast,” he said.”This event as it came in Saturday started earlier and lasted longer, with more snow accumulation–and remember, all the trees still had their foliage on them.” Butler’s comments stood in stark contrast to the dire warnings issued by local television meteorologists and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday, more than 24 hours before the first flakes fell. “If we get the amount of snow that’s being forecast, a lot of people are going to lose power, and power is going to be out for an extended period of time,” Malloy told reporters at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building late Friday morning. – Hartford Courant

I don’t think so. Here’s what I wrote in my blog a few days before that storm hit.

Whatever falls will be heavier inch-for-inch than a typical storm. The snow to water ratio will be low. It’s the kind of snow that’s good for snowballs and extra slippery for drivers!

There’s one more element of this storm which is worrisome. Sustained 20-30 mph northeasterly wind with higher gusts is likely. If this wet snow clings to trees and leaves we’ll have enough wind to bring down limbs and power lines. – My Permanent Record

I wasn’t alone. NBC30’s Ryan Hanrahan’s early take:

“One of the reasons I’m unusually concerned about this storm is that the amount of leaves on the trees make them particularly vulnerable to damage. If the snow is of the heavy and wet variety we could have major and widespread power outages. We’re in uncharted territory here in terms of this type of storm this early in the season.” – Ryan Hanrahan

This same excuse was trotted out after Hurricane Sandy left Long Island powerless! Are we that easy a target?

What happened in Georgia is truly a tragedy. It would have been nice to get a really long lead on this forecast, but sometimes science doesn’t cooperate. However, once the forecast is there you can’t stick your head in the sand and you can’t blame the weatherman.

Well, you can, but we’ll call you on it in a hurry.

Why I Love Charlotte, NC

One huge residential tower was abandoned where it stands and may end up being too far damaged by sitting exposed to be finished! It’s tough not to blame consolidation there.

When I lived in Charlotte, NC back in the early 70s it was a sleepy, genteel, southern city. “If you die in Charlotte you have to change for heaven in Atlanta,” was the often heard swipe at the city’s second class status.

That was ages ago. Charlotte has changed radically. There is virtually nothing left of the downtown Charlotte I knew. Everything is new. Everything is clean. Everything encourages you to be downtown!

Bringing people downtown didn’t happen overnight. Converting areas adjacent to downtown into residential neighborhoods was incredibly important. Adding restaurants and culture were important too.

Over the last decade Charlotte quietly became America’s banking center. With consolidation that may change.

Banks needed huge headquarter sites. Skyscrapers stand where there were once two or three story buildings. Times are getting tighter. One huge residential tower was abandoned where it stands and may end up being too far damaged by sitting exposed to be finished! It’s tough not to blame consolidation there. A more balanced collection of white-collar employers would have helped, though who really knows?

Sunday for breakfast we went to a funky restaurant in a neighborhood reminiscent of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. L.A.’s Melrose has more density, but this part of Charlotte seems to be coming along.

If you’ve never been to the Queen City of the South these photos will acquaint you.

Bob Lacey’s Surprise Birthday Party

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

Bob Lacey gets surprised!This is what’s meant by whirlwind, right? Twenty five hours after arriving in Charlotte I’m sitting in the departure lounge at C2 waiting to leave.

The reason for my trip was to celebrate Bob Lacey’s birthday. Bob and I have been friends nearly forever having worked together at WSAR in Fall River, MA and WBT in Charlotte.

Bob and SheriBob’s been going to work in the same building on Julian Price Place (the only building on Julian Price Place) since 1971. That’s an amazing accomplishment spanning three different facets of broadcasting. For the last 15 years Bob and Sheri Lynch have been on-the-air in Charlotte and 60 other cities.

Dedicated blog readers (is there such a thing–really?) will remember Bob visiting me last weekend. He had no idea there would be a party for him upon his return to Charlotte nor that I would be flying to Charlotte on the plane after his! In untypical Geoff-style I was quiet… hint-less.

Bob and MaryI arrived in Charlotte and met his girlfriend Mary (literally met her for the first time at the airport) who shuttled me around the city as we took care of last minute party preps. The party itself was held in a beautiful condo apartment in the Myers Park section of the city (rub your thumb and the two adjacent fingers together in the money symbol).

Bob was heading to the apartment with his younger daughter ostensibly to get a gift from some friends, It wasn’t until he opened the door that he realized something was up.

The party was filled with Bob’s friends and co-workers and, of course, Mary. Another former WBT, WSAR alum, John Lambis, drove in from Atlanta.

You never know if the guest of honor is truly surprised at a surprise party, but I think so. He certainly looked shocked.

Bob and GeoffWhat do you get someone reaching his 60th 30th birthday? Among the most memorable a ‘mocked up’ cover from AARP Magazine with Bob’s photo and Bob oriented pull-quotes replacing the actual Bruce Springsteen cover. I gave Bob a book of photos from our Maine “mancation” a few years ago.

Charlotte’s mayor, Pat McCrory, declared the day Bob Lacey Day and read a very un-mayoral, funny, proclamation. You’re not going to see this one quoted in the newspaper!

All things considered a very successful trip. I’m glad I could share the moment.

Blogger’s addendum: While driving to-and-fro we passed a sleazy looking motel by the side of the Interstate.

“Oh my God,” I blurted, “I used to live there when they were apartments!”

I’ve been gone from Charlotte a very long time. A lot has changed.

My Folks Go Back To Florida

My parents are both significantly older than they look or act. That’s no small compliment


The phone just rang… or whatever it is they do nowadays. “I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” It was my mom calling from Atlanta. They are halfway home. She knew after we dropped them off at the airport I’d head back to bed. I am much more easily predicted than the weather!

It was a successful trip. They got to watch their last grandchild graduate college. They were in the studio for my 25th anniversary. We spent lots of time together.

My mom had back problems this past winter. She could hardly walk. Yesterday she went to Manhattan with Helaine and Stef. “I walked 8,000,000 steps,” she said. Later it became, “I walked 9,000,000 steps.”

My parents are both significantly older than they look or act. That’s no small compliment.

My dad who had his own back problems yesterday and doesn’t match up well against a hot New York day stayed home with me. This is what is meant when the words “quality time” are used.

What we did wasn’t as important as the fact we did it together! I’m saying that because I think we watched MSNBC for 12 or 13 hours straight. If I saw Dick Cheney one more time I was going to waterboard myself!

My dad and I went to the diner for dinner. Just two guys going for omelets.

It’s a place I’ve been going to for 25 years so as we left I started to talk to the boss and then a few of the waitresses. The conversation got around to Las Vegas and my dad took out “the picture.”

Holy crap, he carries it around!

We joked around at how lucky we were to have the wives we have. He said he couldn’t figure out why Helaine settled for me when she could have done so much better. He was joking–right?

After a full week my parents were ready to return to Florida. Their friends are there. It’s in their comfort zone. There’s BINGO tonight (which they play though both claim they hate it). Now they can rest.

There’s another trip in store for them before this year is out. They’re going to Milwaukee. This winter they’ll become great-grandparents! My niece Jessica, their first grandchild, is expecting.

Where they live in Florida becoming a great-grandparent is equal to winning an Olympic medal.

Just Another Football Sunday

The daytime games didn’t hold much more than peripheral interest for us, though I enjoyed watching Oakland and New England play a full four quarters in heavy rain.

“I’m going to fold these jeans and leave them near the bed for tomorrow,” I told Helaine last night. “Right,” she said. “Will you even be up for the first game?”

OK–I never got out of my pajamas today. I didn’t take the camera out as I’d planned. In fact I barely made halftime before coming downstairs. I hate it when she knows more about me than I do.

We spent the day watching football on TV. The daytime games didn’t hold much more than peripheral interest for us, though I enjoyed watching Oakland and New England play a full four quarters in heavy rain.

With the Eagles way behind we’ve taken to rooting against teams hoping for entree to the NFC wild card. Lose Redskins. Lose Cowboys. Lose Atlanta. We got two of three.

“Go Giants,” Helaine said earlier today. Really? It’s come to that? How sad.

The Numbers Are In

Nielen ratings are in for last night’s debate

The Nielsen ratings are in for last night’s debate. I’m confused by the list of stations aggregated which doesn’t include Fox News and MSNBC, both of which would add significantly to the final total.

If these overnight numbers stand, the ratings are well below other recent debates.

OK–I’m a little surprised. I thought for sure there would be a lot more interest considering all the buzz.

DMA Rank Market RTG Rank RTG SHR (000) 21 St. Louis 1 52.1 82.0 649 48 Memphis 2 49.5 67.0 330 26 Baltimore 3 47.1 66.0 515 9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 4 44.6 68.0 1030 29 Nashville 5 44.0 66.0 424 46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 6 42.2 61.0 285 32 Columbus, OH 7 41.5 63.0 377 43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 8 41.4 59.0 298 58 Richmond-Petersburg 9 40.3 55.0 211 18 Denver 10 39.7 65.0 586 24 Charlotte 11 39.3 54.0 426 7 Boston (Manchester) 12 39.3 58.0 944 22 Portland, OR 13 39.0 74.0 450 31 Kansas City 14 37.7 61.0 350 16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 15 37.2 52.0 573 38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 16 36.4 55.0 282 27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 17 36.2 54.0 377 51 Buffalo 18 36.1 54.0 230 25 Indianapolis 19 35.3 59.0 379 53 New Orleans 20 34.8 48 209 11 Detroit 21 34.3 55.0 661 59 Knoxville 22 34.3 51.0 185 61 Tulsa 23 34.1 55.0 178 45 Oklahoma City 24 34.0 55.0 231 40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 25 33.5 48.0 245 52 Providence-New Bedford 26 33.5 50.0 211 15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 27 33.4 59.0 569 19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 28 33.4 52.0 479 62 Ft. Myers-Naples 29 33.3 51.0 164 28 San Diego 30 33.0 59.0 349 50 Louisville 31 33.0 48.0 218 17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 32 32.9 55.0 505 37 San Antonio 33 32.9 48.0 261 20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 34 32.7 55.0 454 4 Philadelphia 35 32.1 51.0 941 44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 36 32.1 50.0 218 23 Pittsburgh 37 32.1 51.0 371 6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 38 32.0 62.0 779 13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 39 31.7 49.0 569 49 Austin 40 31.6 52.0 201 36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 41 31.5 46.0 265 64 Dayton 42 31.4 50.0 161 1 New York 43 31.3 48.0 2317 8 Atlanta 44 30.9 52.0 714 3 Chicago 45 30.7 51.0 1067 14 Seattle-Tacoma 46 30.3 58.0 541 30 Hartford & New Haven 47 30.2 45.0 306 47 Jacksonville 48 30.0 47.0 196 33 Salt Lake City 49 29.9 63.0 261 35 Milwaukee 50 29.2 49.0 262 34 Cincinnati 51 28.3 49.0 256 42 Las Vegas 52 27.9 46.0 196 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 53 27.7 46.0 671 2 Los Angeles 54 26.4 50.0 1484 12 Phoenix (Prescott) 55 24.8 47.0 448 10 Houston* 56 0.0 0.0 0 Weighted Avg. of 55 markets* 33.2