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:

IN MAIN BAND FOR THE AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT…HAVE SNOW/SLEET AMOUNTS OF 1-3 INCLUDING ATL METRO. GREATEST AMOUNT ALONG A BROAD LINE FROM LA GRANGE TO THOMASTON TO LOUISVILLE. BUT SOUTH OF LUMPKIN TO MACON TO SWAINSBORO LINE…ACCUM WILL BE 0.1-0.3 INCH MIX OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WITH UP TO AN INCH OF LIGHT SNOW ON TOP. ALL THESE ACCUMULATION… OTHER THAN THE NW GA LIGHT BAND…WILL MEET WARNING CRITERIA SO HAVE CONTINUED WARNING AND EXPANDED THIS TO ANOTHER TIER OF COUNTIES INCLUDING ATL METRO AREA.

FINAL NOTE…WE REMAIN CONCERNED ABOUT IMPACT WITH ONSET OF PRECIP AROUND RUSH HOUR AND SCHOOL RELEASE.

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.

Halloween In Irvine

“It’s the one night of the year I don’t hate little children.” – Stefanie Fox 2013

My wife and daughter love Halloween. Seriously. Love is not too strong a word.

We were prepared. A spider web was hung in front of our house. Pumpkins were placed strategically near the door. We stocked enough candy to open an all-night convenience store next to a marijuana dispensary!

I expected the first of the little ones around 4:00 PM. Nothing.

As the afternoon continued, I tweeted:

5:50 PM PDT. No trick or treaters yet. I am crushed. We have candy. Come on down.

And then, just as the Sun was setting, they arrived in clusters of two, three and four. Their parents stood safely nearby, letting the kids approach the house on their own.

It was perfect. Most of them were young–under five. All of them were adorable. The costumes were sweet.

In our neighborhood, loaded with recent immigrants from Asia, we had some kids trick or treating for the first time. At least one girl knew how to say, “Thank you,” but no other English words. Her father said she’d only arrived this month.

Through it all Doppler and Roxie entertained in their Halloween costumes. Though they both barked and Roxie was often defensive toward the kids, they kept their costumes on and didn’t make a fuss.

Halloween in Irvine was a success.

Just One Trick-Or-Treater

“You’re our first,” Helaine said. “We’ve been hearing that a lot,” the princesses father replied. And that was it! No one else came.

Helaine goes to great lengths prepping for Halloween. We have no shortage of candy. If by chance a fully loaded fleet of buses stopped at our door we’d survive.

“It’s my favorite holiday,” she said tonight.

She likes giving. Halloween is a big giving holiday.

This year I had my camera at the ready. My goal was to ask first then photograph the trick-or-treaters and post the results here on my blog.

We went through 4:00, then 5:00, then 6:00 with no kids. Finally the bell rang. Neighbors from a block over were on our steps. Their daughter was dressed as a princess.

“You’re our first,” Helaine said.

“We’ve been hearing that a lot,” the princesses father replied.

And that was it! No one else came.

How sad.

The boys next door have grown too old. Other kids from the block have grown or moved or both. We live in a quiet area of no sidewalks on a street with no streetlights. We’re geographically undesirable!

I’m not sure how we’ll deal with Halloween next year. At our house it’s lost some of its magic.

Surprise The Kids At Halloween With The Weirdest Chocolate Ever!

Save a few bucks. Pass this out and you’re guaranteed fewer visitors next year!

I took a quick trip to Target tonight. A few co-workers were searching for Halloween candy to pass out this weekend.

While in the chocolate aisle (well, one of the many chocolate aisles) I came across the most unusual chocolate I have ever seen. Seriously, was there a call for chili infused chocolate?

Pass this out this weekend and you’re guaranteed fewer visitors next year!

Candy Filled Pre-Halloween Thoughts

I wish they still had UNICEF trick or treating. As a kid my little container full of pennies and nickels made me feel I was doing something good.

Halloween approaches. It’s less than a week away. Helaine has already bought the Halloween candy we’ll hand out. It is secretly hidden. She won’t tell where. I won’t even bother asking.

As it is we always have some candy left over from the last Halloween in the pantry. It’s good to have a pantry! If I eat something late at night and become guilt ridden I bury the wrapper in the trash so it’s less visible. I’m sure Helaine has caught on to this by now.

This stuff isn’t food, it’s food product! It’s manufactured… and manufactured to last. Packing your post apocalyptic survival cellar? Pack Halloween food!

I’m sixty. When I was a kid they were saying the same things about non-packaged food they do now. Did anyone think people were handing out apples even back then? Nothing changes… except collecting for UNICEF.

I wish they still had UNICEF boxes with trick or treating. As a kid my little container full of pennies and nickels made me feel I was doing something good. Hopefully I was.

It’s a little late in the entry to mention, but this whole rant comes about because I spied some candy corn sitting on a paper plate while walking through the newsroom. Candy corn is the only Halloween food I’ve never eaten. It looks like rotten teeth!

I can get past a lot in my quest for empty sugary calories, but rotten teeth? Hand me a Twinkie.

Halloween Observations

Halloween was great for me as a kid. Living at 65-43 Parsons Blvd, Apartment 5E, I just walked to the sixth floor and started knocking on doors. Six apartments per floor. Six floors in the building.

luna-leopard.jpgJose’s wife brought Luna to the TV station this afternoon and, of course, I put her on-the-air.

Is there anything cuter than a baby on Halloween?

As it turns out, Luna is always happy–always. That made a mid-stride hand-off from father to weatherman a whole lot easier.

When Stef was Luna’s age she was “Little Miss Cold Front.” OK–not a major costume stretch. Helaine cut a cold front out of paper and pinned it to her. She was a baby. She couldn’t complain (she has since developed that skill).

Halloween was great for me as a kid. Living at 65-43 Parsons Blvd, Apartment 5E, I just walked to the sixth floor and started knocking on doors. Six apartments per floor. Six floors in the building.

We were connected to 65-45 Parsons Blvd, so a ten second walk and you were set with another 36 apartments. Scores of kids would walk up and down the halls. The building was built for trick or treating.

As far back as fifty years ago–my earliest remembrances of Halloween, there were warnings about ‘altered’ candy being passed out. That is not a recent scare.

For some reason I didn’t want my mother to put make-up on my face. That meant no moustache for a cowboy or whatever I was that year. Of course now I wear make-up on a daily basis. Go figure!

I used to collect for UNICEF. I remember the little milk container with a slot. I felt really proud to be doing something good. It probably came to a few dollars per kid, but we were all collecting. Why don’t kids do that any more?

dd-trackstar.jpgMy best costume spot this afternoon was at Dunkin’ Donuts. One of the servers was wearing a wig and gold medals. It was actually pretty funny. I’m glad DD let him wear his costume and that he let me take his photo.