By Bob Dorn
Aren’t we really just being chumps for weather reports?
Last week was hell. I tuned in every night to the weather forecasts, and that for me IS hell; all that almost-innocent T&A, witless humor and mirthless studio laughter, chartreuse simulations of doppler radar defining drizzle somewhere I don’t live, the pictures of puppies being sprayed in the back yard… these people get paid to do this stuff.
(I’ll bet the guys who managed to choose ‘lectric chartreuse don’t get paid as much as the on-air hooters and hootees do.)
These people are all over the map, without a weather map.
Let’s get to the 7-day summary.
April 27. It was cool. I know. I was there. It’s the day the words Santa Ana were mentioned.
April 28. BOOM. Like that, the high at Lindbergh Field was 91, according to the UT-SD’s weather page.
April 29. The UT-SD lists the same high as the previous day’s 91.
April 30. The UT-SD page is facing reality. The high was 94, on the third straight day of 90+ degrees. It offers the comforting thought, “Heat Wave to Break Friday,” in a small headline over a box of details.
May 01. Let’s jump to the US National Wether Service website, which records a 95 degree Thursday, a record for the date that beats the old highs set on four dates going back to the 20s of last century, BY 14 DEGREES. Unless you trust timeanddate.com, which shows a high of 102 at 12 noon that day.
Now, my recollection is that Santa Ana’s almost always occur in fall, lasting into December. But my wife and pal tells me she heard a meteorologist explain that, no, Santa Ana’s visit us at times of weather transitions. I recall, that the demon blasts are self-cancelling, only lasting 3 to 5 days. We’ll see about that.
That latter “fact” seemed to be a part of the news cycle on this excruciating Thursday, as tv experts turned, smiling at the camera, to coyly suggest relief would soon be on it’s way.
May 02. Some sites want to believe the coy suggestion. I’m attracted to the website of wunderground; where the high was 78 degrees. WHAT!!! My eyes were burning; I left the house to go to a packed Sprouts where the manager told me it’s normally the store’s down day… “People are coming here because it’s air conditioned,” she told me. Over at the UT-SD they’re more into reality; the temp is listed as 84. This iss the day they said relief would be on its way.
May 03. Ooops. The UT-SD site says this day’s high was 85. For some reason not clear to me they add “not as hot” as the 84 degrees they recorded the prior day. Shawn Styles at Channel 8 says the high was 87 (which in the real world is hotter than 86, 85 AND 84). So much for the normal 5-day Santa Ana.
May 04. Sunday, it’s gone, the Santa Ana is done with us. According to whomever you trust the high was either 67.7 at wunderground (their full name is weatherunderground, suggesting that’s where they’re measuring it) or, say, Accuweather that shows 76 degrees.
Oh well, a 9.3 degree difference can’t mean much, not to accurate weather reporters.
That last sentence reads “accurate weather reporters,” right? I don’t want anyone to think I don’t respect real meteorologists; you know, the kind who go to school on it.
Really, what can account for the disconnect between the U.S. National Weather Service and major media? Professional historians trying to figure out what temperatures prevailed on given dates in the past won’t be going to Channel 7’s Dagmar, nor any other weather hustlers on the air or in print.
But I checked the archives of the for-profit weather entertainers for this screed, didn’t I?, and I watched them in real time, too, especially from 5 to 6 pm when it was still burning up outside and I had to spread a sheet over the couch to protect it from the sweat escaping from me even though the fan at my feet was blowing straight up at my bare chest and face. I watched because I was stupid.
I’ve thought for some time now how stupid I was as a kid raised in Arizona; not all the time, just when a cool wave snapped and the temperature rose from 90 to Fahrenheit levels capable of inspiring murderers. There, stupid was an environmental disease at certain times of the year.
For what it’s worth, wunderground’s site is showing chartreuse green doppler rain just east of San Clemente Island and heading our way, as I write (on this Sunday, May 04).
We’ll see about that.
Graphic via Dagmar Midcap Blog