BRACK: Those weather people psyched us out again

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher   |  Those weather forecasters did it again. They psyched us into thinking that Hurricane Nate last weekend would bring widespread wind and rain to Georgia.  Instead it turned into a Tropical Depression and rushed northeastward from the Gulf Coast, leaving us with relatively little rain and wind. We really didn’t mind.

But their frenzied forecasts got to me. Intending of going to the Georgia mountains last weekend, we stayed home instead, as it looked like life in the mountains would be difficult at best because of the storm.

It caused the Norcross Art Fest to cancel the second day of the Festival, that is, Sunday. As it turned out, that was perhaps a good idea, as the weather stayed drippy all day Sunday, though there were not the high winds predicted.  Outdoor exhibitors were perhaps pleased, for they would make few sales on such a day.

It was a case of the weather-people not quite getting it right again.

Our of our daughters thinks that one of her nieces (our granddaughters) ought to become  a meteorologist, since she would stay employed even though she would probably continue the tradition of producing  forecasts that missed the mark. It sure happens these days.

Today’s modern weather people at least are relatively confident in their forecast, smiling and telling us what they expect to happen. And most of us gobble up all that information, run to the store to buy the products necessary to stock up for a storm, and start awaiting the outcome.

There’s no doubt that modern weather forecasts can save lives, and reduce property damage by all of us taking note and getting prepared for nasty weather. Government officials these days are quicker to suggest evacuations when extreme weather is predicted, then back it up by making it mandatory many times to leave an area. That’s taking the safe side.

Some hard-nosed people, however, want no part of evacuations, wanting to ride out any harsh weather, and stay to protect their surroundings.  We must admit that if we lived in a coastal area, and especially in an area like the Florida Keys, we would probably skee-daddle. We  wouldn’t want either to put up with the storm, or in the storm’s aftermath, when we could be without power, food or even housing. We’ve no doubt “become soft,” but we have become used to being more comfortable than daring.

One of our favorite movies, Key Largo (Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson  and Lionel Barrymore), is a first-rate drama. Though it has a story all its own, what really impresses me about that movie is the dramatization of a hurricane arriving, plus how some people can actually survive such a battering.  

And every time we hear of another hurricane being stirred up in the Atlantic, our mind returns to Key Largo. And if you haven’t seen it recently, it’s worth seeing again next time it’s shown on television. (It’s available on DVD only from Netflix.)

So if your children or grandchildren show an interest in science of the weather, encourage them toward the study of meteorology. They’ll always be in demand.

We’ve always understood that  the top colleges to study this “science” of weather are Texas A&M, Penn State and Florida State, though many other schools offer the degree. That’s pointing someone with interest in the weather to college.

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