Tallulah: Here Comes Weiner Cottontail (photo)

Tallulah will be visiting next weekend. This photo makes us wish it was sooner.

Here at Casa del Zorro we love puppies. We don’t have one in our immediate family now (Roxie being a California dog), but I suspect that will change by the beginning of summer. Probable breed: cute! Probable name: Doppler&#185.

In the meantime when friends or relatives bring dogs by or email us photos we immediately say “Awwwww” and start thinking about administering belly rubs and scratching behind ears!

Tallulah will be visiting next weekend. This photo makes us wish it was sooner.

&#185 – My friend fellow meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan already has a dog named Doppler. I will provide Ryan with a list of potential new names for his dog.

Postscript: I should have mentioned this earlier. Helaine and I fully intend on rescuing a dog to join our family. – Geoff

This Snow’s Got Potential

The amount of snow is less important than most people make it out to be. It’s like worrying about changing diapers before your child is born. Trust me–diapers are the least of your worries!

Some folks like snow. Some folks don’t. Count me in the don’t column.

OKAY….I am loving this potential for tomorrow….just an fyi ! 🙂

snowy-wood-pile.jpgThat was a tweet I got from Gil Simmons. Count him as a do.

His love doesn’t make any difference does it? We don’t control it. We can only hope to be right.

I am a poker player. I can’t tell you how many pots I’ve lost while playing my hand perfectly. Stuff happens. Educated predictions don’t always work. Still, this potential Nor’easter for Wednesday is tantalizingly well modeled by the computers.

Actually, there’s no way to know that until after the storm! It’s been consistently modeled. That’s for sure.

If you forecast weather you begin to assume that consistent outputs from the computers mean they have a handle on what’s going on.

Wait. I’m going to add a proviso again.

Consistent output means the storm’s relative position and strength remains constant run-after-run-after-run. It decidedly doesn’t mean consistency in predicting how much snow. That’s never consistent! The amount… the “quantitative precipitation forecast” is never right. Never! And, of course, it’s what the viewers want the most.

Here’s what I think I know.

  • Wednesday start, just before dawn.
  • Wettish snow to start, but becoming fluffier over the day.
  • Strong, gusty northeast winds–a classic Nor’easter.
  • Reasonable chance for thundersnow and/or a snow burst in the afternoon.
  • At least a half foot of snow. Probably much more.

The amount of snow is less important than most people make it out to be. It’s like worrying about changing diapers before your child is born. Trust me–diapers are the least of your worries!

Once the ground is covered 90% of the problems are in place. Yup, somewhere between &#188″ and &#189″ is all it takes. This state screeches to a halt!

Three inches is another break point. Until then snow is easily cleared. Above three inches and many roads lose lanes as snow piles up at the curb.

Once we’re above eight inches additional snow hardly matters! Pretty much all optional outdoor activity has been cancelled. Cars on residential streets are plowed in, much to the consternation of their owners.

For me it’s a better time to travel because nearly everyone else is off the road. I am a speedy driver except in snow! I respect snow.

Most likely Wednesday’s storm is in this last accumulation category. Nearly everything will stop!

Five more model runs (every six hours) before it hits. I’ll deconstruct them all.

Wednesday’s Got My Attention

I’ve sort of been hoping we’d make it out of this winter without a real bang. Foolish me.

spruce-tree-with-snow.jpgI am not sure why, but this upcoming storm seems a little more ‘set in stone’ than usual. All the models are reasonably in line and the scenario they paint in plausible. This is the classic Nor’easter setup.

Recently some friends have been pointing to improvements in one of the short range computer models I check. I’ve started to give it more credence, not that it makes a big difference this time (see paragraph one).

I’ve sort of been hoping we’d make it out of this winter without a real bang. Foolish me.

The Singing Easter Bunny

Have you ever bought something to use once – just once? I think this is what Helaine had in mind when she bought the Singing Easter Bunny for Stef.

There was a plan. This morning, when Steffie first stirred, but before she came downstairs, Helaine would wake me. The bunny would be at the top of the stairs.

OK – it was better in person than it reads on the computer screen.

In the meantime, if you’ve never captured the singing bunny singing, here’s his entire repertoire. Makes the perfect Easter gift.

(BTW – as I type this, Sunday, the video farther down the page of a man directing traffic is much better. If you’re only choosing one, choose that one.)

Working The 4th

It is not as honorable as working Christmas or Easter, so someone who observes can be with family. It is the Fourth of July and I should be off from work… which I am not.

Here’s how it works at work – seniority rules for vacation requests. And, as it turns out, I’ve been on-the-air longer than anyone else at the TV station. I am number one on the seniority list!

I forgot to ask for the Fourth of July off! My fault. I screwed up.

There’s an interesting attitude at work on a holiday like this. Everyone feels more capable of making decisions. Everyone feels more in control. There is no upper management on-site.

It’s not that management isn’t important, it’s just that (for short periods) we can steer on our own.

When people ask me if I’m upset to be working on a holiday, I say “no.” I’m really very lucky. How many people have a job they enjoy… something they happily do? It’s not like I’m stacking boxes or working the wok in the non-air conditioned Chinese restaurant where I bought my family’s dinner.

Next year I’ll try to be less forgetful. Meantime, I’m sitting at my desk, watching the New Haven fireworks on my monitor. It could be worse.

Another Nice Mention in the Day

I spoke to Rick Koster at the New London Day yesterday. He was writing a story about weathermen and comments their viewers make, and asked me to participate. I’m always scared I might say something I’ll later regret. This one came out very nicely.

I’ve attached the story to the link below

Snow Rage?

Just Blame It On The Weathermen, They’re Used To It

�There will be no school tomorrow. At least I’ll be a hero to kids.� – Geoff Fox, WTNH Channel 8 weatherman

Day Staff Columnist, Arts & Entertainment
Published on 3/1/2005

Something irritating this way comes.

It was Monday afternoon and the clouds were the opaque gray of a killer’s eyes. The Nor’easter was roaring up the Atlantic Coast and forecasters were describing a weather system that would utilize the Connecticut shore as a sort of tightrope between heavy rain and snow, or both.

Among area meteorologists, the mood was a cross between the excitement wrought of any storm and the anxiety that comes with predicting tough and complex systems. After all, at this point in the season, the citizenry can be a bit testy � and need someone to blame the weather on.

�It’s the nature of the game,� said Matt Scott, a meteorologist at WTNH in New Haven who called the impending Nor’easter �a complicated one.�

�This is a troublesome storm,� he said. �This is the first storm of the winter where I think we could see some power outages.�

That would certainly increase the potential for public dissatisfaction.

�Well, we’ve had a lot of snow � more than average � and when we’re a little off the mark some folks get agitated,� Scott said.

Geoff Fox, one of Scott’s meteorological colleagues at WTNH, who has worked in the area for 20 years, is more than familiar with irate weather-followers blaming the messenger. He remembered several years ago when a tourist board in Cape Cod was upset with him because members thought Fox’s long-range forecasts, which in this part of the country usually included a day of rain, were affecting business. They theorized Connecticut residents would not make the trip to the Cape if Fox suggested inclement weather.

Another time: �I was collared by a guy who owned a car wash where I used to take my car,� Fox remembered. �He didn’t like weather forecasts that could hurt his business. I tried to kid around, but he had no sense of humor and I came to believe, in his case, that he had some connections and could actually hurt me. So I get my car washed somewhere else now.�

Fox will presumably not worry about the aesthetics of his car over the next few days. He said Monday afternoon that the Nor’easter was pushing farther and farther to the east. Since snow systems have a relative warm and cold side � the cold is to the west � each turn to the east increases the likelihood that southeastern Connecticut will get more snow.

�There will be no school tomorrow,� Fox said. �At least I’ll be a hero to kids.�

Today’s technology makes it easier for viewers to convey their irritation with meteorologists.

�E-mails are easy to fire off; there are no faces or identities attached,� said Bruce DePrest, chief meteorologist at WFSB in Hartford. �The sender might even be mad at a forecast from another station, but any weatherman will do. Anything can trigger it, too � the timing of a storm, calling for snow and getting rain. … A lot of things make people mad, and sometimes they just want to be annoying because it’s easy to do.�

Michael Thomas, a meteorologist for the Connecticut Weather Center in Danbury, can perhaps understand the concept of what might be called �snow rage� even if he’d never heard the phrase. He said, �I think southeastern Connecticut is looking at five to eight inches of snow with this storm. I was already tired of (snow) last month. Now I hate it.�

Meteorologists say they take their forecasts seriously.

�People should understand that a storm like the one headed our way is my Super Bowl or my Oscars,� Fox said. �It’s really important to us to get it right. There is no upside to making an inaccurate forecast. This is where we make friends or enemies.�

Perhaps it’s possible to do both.

Last week, after several more inches of snow, Fox and his boss received �incredibly irate� e-mails from a viewer in Gales Ferry. The guy was mad because, after the station’s forecast called for snow, his caf� lost business and his son’s wrestling practice was canceled.

�I wrote back and said I didn’t cause the snow,� Fox said. �In the meantime, my boss, who never throws an e-mail away, remembered the guy’s name from an earlier communication and sent a return e-mail: �I’m really surprised to hear from you since you wrote in 2002 and said you’d never watch us again. So it’s good to have you back.’ �

I Wish I Had Known Jerry Nachman

Jerry Nachman died overnight last night at his home in Hoboken, NJ. If the name isn’t familiar, you might remember seeing him on MSNBC. Nachman was a large man physically and a giant in the business. He was 57, but could have passed for older.

I didn’t know Jerry Nachman. – only met him briefly one night here at the TV station. I had some minimal contact with him while he was editor of The New York Post.

It was a major holiday – probably Easter – at least 10 years ago. Helaine, Steffie and I had driven to Philadelphia to visit Helaine’s parents. On the way back, we waited an eternity to cross the George Washington Bridge. As we approached the toll plaza, I saw some of the booths (on this incredibly busy travel night) weren’t open. I asked, and the toll booth operator offered up, not enough people had been scheduled. The seemed very uncaring on the part of the Port Authority, who runs the bridge.

This was costing people untold hours, and costing businesses money. It wasn’t a story for my station, but it did seem like something for the Post. I wrote Jerry – and he responded. It felt like he was listening, interested and involved… and all because he took 10 seconds and put pen to paper.

I know of Jerry Nachman because of his reputation. He was a radio newsman, TV newsman and manager, newspaper editor, writer… you get the idea. If you look at all of his jobs, you get the feeling that people met him, realized he was really smart, and knew he could do whatever he set out to do.

There is a story that I’ve heard more than a few times. He was news director at WNBC-TV. There was a break in a big story, but no reporter to cover it. Jerry was in an off-the-air position – a management position. But, he told the crew to stop by his apartment on the way, pick him up, and he would report. It’s tough not to respect that.

Nachman seemed like the kind of guy you’d want to work for. Aggressive in his approach to the business, as if it were sport to him. Smart enough not be threatened. Skilled enough to command respect because he knew how to do his job… and your job too.

He was not a coiffed pretty boy with a ‘ripped’ body. In fact, his face had taken on the shape of a canned ham – not uncommon when you’re physically immense. He was all skill and little glitter. He died too soon.