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Baby, it’s HOT outside!

July 10, 2012 by Mark McGlothlen 

You don’t need a meteorologist to tell you that it is hot outside. It isn’t even hot, it is unbearable. In fact, a quick stroll out to get the trash can the other morning resulted in me breaking out in a sweat after just stepping a few feet outside my door!

We often complain that our meteorologists get paid too much money and can never give us an accurate forecast. I can see why people say that, but the weather is a crazy business. But why is it when I want them to be wrong, they are right on the money? They could at least play fair!

I actually asked WWMT Chief Meteorologist Keith Thompson about this very matter. He said that he does not often hear comments from people about never getting the forecast right. In fact, he says it is just the opposite. “But that’s probably because — even in this age of seeming inconsideration — people are too considerate to say that to me,” he said.

Thompson said people will jokingly say, “I wish I could get paid for being right 50 percent of the time.”

His response? He tells people he is actually underpaid! “I tell them that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter get paid many millions of dollars, and they’re only right about 30 percent of the time,” Thompson said. Of course he is joking, but you see what he is getting at.

The heat wave we have been experiencing has been miserable to say the least. It is so hot outside that you want to stay inside. My wife and I have been trying our best to think of things to keep our girls entertained during the really hot times when we would prefer they not be outside. But heck, even they are smart enough to know that it is too hot to play outside and to stay in where it is cool.

I remember the heat wave back in the late 1980’s. We did not have central air back then, just fans and open windows. I am not sure how we survived!

Another side effect of this weather pattern that we have been stuck in is the lack of rain that we have received. My grass went from soft and green to yellow and crisp. Really crisp!

I made the mistake of walking out in the yard barefoot to pick up firework remnants from the last few days of festivities. Not my festivities, mind you, but my neighbor’s.

I have mentioned our wonderful neighbor a few times in this column. The guy who is in his late 40’s but acts more like he is 19. He is the kind of guy who mows his yard at nine in the evening, comes home with his music blaring and windows down (at all hours), has a “vintage” car that he loves to leave idling in his yard, letting the exhaust float into our windows while revving the engine, and on and on.

Anyway, for the past few nights he has decided to light off fireworks at 11 p.m. Thankfully, our windows are shut tight and the AC is on, so the sound is not too bad. But like I mentioned before, our yard is dry. Our water bills are high enough up here, so watering the yard is out of the question. Besides, if I water it, I will have to mow it and that is the last thing I want to do in 100 degree weather.

My neighbor decided to shoot his fireworks into my yard. Sometimes I just wonder what goes through people’s minds. A small part of me was hoping my yard would ignite into a ball of flame and I would watch him scurry to put it out. But then I thought … would he have the common sense to do anything at that point? And get this, he has been watering his yard all summer long, but picks my yard to shoot his flame throwers into. Makes total sense, eh?

Instead, I picked up all of the junk that he sent into my yard, put it in a plastic bag and hung it on his side of the fence. I am hoping my subtle hint will register with him, but I am not holding my breath!

On a side note, Keith Thompson said he hopes people have noticed that forecasts tend to be more reliable than they have been in the past. “And that’s not because the forecasters are necessarily any better. The rapid advance of computer technology has made it possible to devise newer, more accurate forecast models,” he said. “Without accurate computer models, any forecaster is doomed.”

So don’t blame your local meteorologist if you do not like the weather. Blame the technology!

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