09 October 2012

The Learning Curve

Attempting to forecast the weather in Alaska is an elaborate guessing game. Experienced meteorologists will admit that, but will also guess correctly more often than not ... although a "miss" can be rather epic, depending on the season.  Weather patterns here are complicated by large open areas of the state surrounded on multiple sides by mountain ranges.  Some, like the Alaska Range (containing Mt. McKinley) are so tall they make their own weather fronts.

In winter, forecasting clear weather when a blizzard is about to move in can be deadly to outdoorsmen, hunters, and those living on subsistence in the Bush.

The best of the weather-guessers at the most highly-watched news station in Anchorage has moved on, to the National Weather Service. His replacement on the morning newscast is (let's be charitable) inexperienced at reading Alaskan weather.

This morning, he forecast clearing skies with some sun. At 6:30am when I left home, it was drizzling and foggy. It's still raining at 2pm, as I write this.

I hope he gets better quickly. In another month, all this water will be white & fluffy ... and road conditions won't be so nice as they are today.

* * * * *

On the brighter side, it's only wet today, and that makes for a reasonably nice, late-fall day.  The temps are scheduled to fall, starting tomorrow, and it could be ten degrees cooler by the weekend. If there's any precipitation then, it could well be the fluffy kind.

Speaking of the weekend, to borrow some subpoena language, the girls and I are putting aside all manner of excuse and delay, and will drive north to the Birchwood rifle range. They've both joined, and the only way a membership there will pay for itself is with regular visits when weather is amenable to travel - not something one can count on, in winter.

Have a great afternoon, friends, and thanks for stopping by.

4 comments:

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Denver had a weather forecaster named Ed Bowman from 1950-1968. A dedicated man, and a pilot, he would sometimes fly his own plane along the front range before his 5:30 weather report.

Rev. Paul said...

Mr. Bowman must have been a real treasure. We had Dave Murray at the ABC affiliate in St. Louis, years ago, before he went to Good Morning, America - and he was likewise a very canny forecaster.

I've heard an experienced 'caster here, though, say "Anything more than four hours in advance is a guess." I guess the good ones just learn to be smarter with their guesses.

Old NFO said...

Meh... It's ALWAYS a guess... And ANY weatherman that gets it right 50% of the time is DAMN GOOD! And re Alaska weather, took off from Adak one day, bright sunny, and "relatively" warm; 12 hours later landed in a @#%^$ blizzard and it was 20 degrees and falling... The 'forecast' clear and sunny... sigh

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, Adak is where I was when the meteologist (in this case, a Lt. Cdr.) made the "four hours" remark. He was schooling the new CO on why forecasts were iffy.