Under the weather story

It’s getting easier already, typing with my wrist bandaged up.

What’s apparently not so easy, at least judging by the countless weather stories I’ve had to write for The Evening Sun, is predicting the precipitation around these parts.

And really, I don’t get it.

You’ve got your warm fronts and your cold fronts, your high pressure systems and your low ones. I mean, I remember all the different types of clouds from my eighth-grade science class. Just mix in some computer models (read: hit enter and go out for pizza) and grab some radar reports, and you’re good to go.

It’s going to snow. Or it’s not. Rocket science it ain’t.

Seems to me if you can walk out your front door and chew gum at the same time, you can be a weatherman.

Yet once again this morning, it looks like the forecast for Hanover was wrong.

Now as you can probably tell from my tone, I have a bit of a personal stake in this particular weather mix-up.

If you’re a regular visitor to our site or social media pages, you probably saw an early morning snow storm story when you woke up on Saturday. That was mine. I got up bright and early after a late shift Friday night and slipped and slid my way to the office to get it done.

Such is the life of the weekend editor, and that’s just fine.

But what bothers me now — aside from my throbbing hand — is the report I received that morning from the National Weather Service.

Shown here is an exceptionally clearly developed single-cell Cumulonimbus incus displaying the classic anvil shape; gusts will happen near and under it. ...Duh.

“It’s going to warm up quickly,” said an NWS meteorologist with whom I’ve spoken many times, a nice guy always willing to provide a bit of color for your average gray-sky story. Snow should be all but melted by later today or tomorrow, he said, going on three days ago now.

Oh, and that big mashed-potato mass at the edge of the map will bring only rain in Hanover on Monday, he assured me.

So that’s what I typed up and put online. It’s what our weekend reporter reiterated later, in her story for A1 in the Sunday print edition.

Now just look at this mess.

Temperatures have stayed low all through the weekend and into this Monday morning, and I’m guessing there’s just about the same amount of snow in my backyard as there was when I stumbled my way out the door toward the newspaper office a few days ago.

On top of that – literally – there’s a thin coat of ice all over everything this morning. I guess it’s from that same system, the one I was told would definitely not bring any frozen precipitation. I printed that, too.

So that’s my issue today, or at least one of them.

It’s a shame, embarrassing even, that after newspaper staff works hard to get you a story, the information from experts we provide sometimes turns out to be incorrect. There’s that old saying about the best-laid plans, but that never makes me feel any better at a time like this.

Frankly, I wish there was a better way to get you the weather – both online and later in print – but if there is we haven’t found it yet. And it’s a shame.

…And I’m sorry but I still say someone ought to be able to read a radar report and correctly track a few bands of rain. Cumulus clouds look like anvils because straight-line winds at higher altitudes shear off the top of the cloud, and because of rising temperatures at the equilibrium level near the tropopause.

Or was that one cumulonimbus?

Well, either way there’s always a downdraft, and a rainy area to their right – or their left. One or the other.

I can check Wikipedia on that again in a minute.

Right now, though, I should probably rest my wrist. As I mentioned, I did bang it up pretty good this morning, once again thanks to this kooky weather. It was a freak thing, outside on my walkway. I was getting ready to take my daughter to preschool and I hit a patch of ice and down I went.

I was just walking out the front door.

Next thing you know there are flailing arms and legs, and splayed across the front yard snow it’s me, and a set of car keys. And a piece of chewing gum.



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2 Responses to Under the weather story

  1. Blake Stough says:

    I have a great deal of respect for meteorologists because there are so many factors that go into predicting the weather. With that said, they sure do seem to have a difficult time predicting winter weather.

    The problem I have is with the varying reports from different weather “companies” (Accuweather, The Weather Channel, and even our local news agencies). Are the weather guys we see on TV knowledgeable about what they’re reporting, or are they merely reading a report created by a computer and produced by someone else?

    I LOVE clouds and weather, but don’t envy those who predict it.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I basically learned about almost all of this, but however, I still assumed it was beneficial. Nice post!