Sometimes Barry Bonds strikes out… Donovan McNabb under performs at the Super Bowl… Ford builds an Edsel. Stuff happens. Today was my day.
It started innocently enough. I had worked through the forecast and got my numbers together. A wicked storm was coming. It would rain then snow and radically change the temperature. The wind would howl. Temps in the 50s Monday would slide to the teens by late Tuesday.
Hey – I got it right… except one little thing.
After looking at the numbers, I decided (and this was definitely a personal, not machine made, call) the ground would be too warm and most of the snow would melt. Already in this late winter season I had seen snow under perform because of strong insolation (the heat of the Sun). The blacktop had been bathing in sunshine all of Monday and the temperature stayed in the 40s overnight.
I said it on the air Monday, and said it again, and again, and again. Most of the snow would turn to slush. I must have made a strong impression because when the emails started flowing this afternoon I was quoted almost perfectly.
Long story short, before the rain ended, cold air moved in at ground level. The snow was falling on a small coating of ice and it was sticking. Worse, it was incredibly slippery!
We never got that much snow, but it didn’t matter. The damage was done right away. The state entered panic mode. People left work early. Schools were dismissed before their unusual times. Everyone was on the road all at once. Half hour trips took three or four hours… or more.
I am shell shocked. This is a tough one to take. I know some people were hurt or disappointed. I’m right there with them. It is my responsibility. This was a call I made, on my own. I feel awful.
Tonight, on the air, and in emails, I apologized. I hope people understand. I think they will. I hope they will.
Sometimes weathercasters are accused of hyping the forecast, blowing it out of proportion to increase their importance. I suppose there might be some who do that. Believe me, this is the kind of day that makes me understand why it’s good I don’t unduly hype.
There is no upside to a bad forecast.