Not nice the last couple of days. As the nation now knows, the old Confederacy got snow. Even places like the official Alibam City of Thieves (Muntgum) got snow. The state dermatologist declared an emergency, perhaps to make sure his insurance would cover the absence damage to his mansion in the city of the Black Warrior.
Here in Greater Metropolitan Arab we got a fraction of an inch but somewhat weirdly – complete coverage on the roads but little on the lawns and fields. So driving was a case of avoiding the 0.99 of Alibam drivers who think the best strategy when the weather goes bad is to drive as fast as they can to minimize the transit time. This might work is there were only one person on the roads but put several and what is done is to maximize the probability of a spin out or a bumper bash. Perhaps that’s why I live in Alibam – it makes me feel smarter.
But the actual aniceness has been the abysmal failure of the weather beavers. I consult about four or five forecasting sources when the weather is nasty and while they differ a bit, all were hideously off the last couple of days. For example, yesterday the foretelling was a minimum temperature in Greater Metropolitan Arab of 10-13 degF. The actual minimum, as measured by the local weather station, not newstations mind, weather station, was 5 degF. That’s not an 0.5 error mind you, to compute error you have to convert to a rational temperature scale like Kelvin or Rankine that puts scale zero at absolute zero. So it’s really a small error except that it’s well below the liquid->solid phase change temperature of dihydrogen oxide and a deltaT of 5 degF is a big deal given the nonexistence of competent weatherproofing in Nawth Alibam houses. I suspect in most houses in the old Confederacy but I have no data on that scope.
And they did it again this morning. Not by as much, but still more than I find acceptable.
The conscript parents of Atalanta held the weather beavers responsible for the city going into chaotic collapse. I think this is overdone. IMHO, the city is always on the verge of chaotic collapse, based on personal observations. It’s more a cancer than a city and so it always seems to be one “sproing” shy of collapse all the time. But the weather beavers showed their claws and swiped back, [Link] and said they offered plenty of sequential communications that started out with “mildly inconvenient” to “heat death”. The problem is that they ignored that communication is only effected if the linkage is complete. Broadcasting isn’t communication! It’s a monologue to the sky.
The problem is at least twofold. First, there is a difference between individual response to weather and organizational response to weather. In this case it’s epitomized by the difference between civilian and military meteorology. At root: it takes an organization longer to get its response together so it needs more lead time and the civilian meteorology system failed to do this. Second, meteorologists need to get better at communicating. Not broadcasting. Communicating. That means give and take of information. Perhpas the best way to do this is for each large city – bigger than Greater Metropolitan Arab – to have an staff weather beaver who thinks in communication and organization terms instead of broadcast schedule terms?
And lastly, I just heard that the good citizens of Birmingham who abandoned motorcars are now bitchin’ and moanin’ about towage fees. What Elrods! Do some homework on what tows cost these days. And the laws of the community you are driving through. See beyond your own entitlement. Don’t be a ferd.