Sunday, September 25, 2016

Slight chance of rain

I have two separate assignments due this week. Neither calls for my thoughts on the current state of weather forecasting. So naturally I thought now would be a good time to share with you my thoughts on the weather, rather than do my work.

I am a fan of John Oliver. Aside from referencing some of the finer points he makes each week, I have also taken to using one of his segments: 'How is this still a thing?' as a new sick burn. For example:
Nickleback: How is this still a thing?

See what I did there? It's subtle, a little highbrow/a little lowbrow. Something for everyone. I also use it when expressing frustration in something that either should be better, or shouldn't exist at all, as I will today.

The weather industry: How is this still a thing?

The weather is a science, but it's not an exact science. It is not mathematics where a definitive correct answer can be predicted. So why do they try to make it seem like it is? If any other industry had the rate of success that weather forecasts do, they would come under severe regulation by some bigwig, or at the very least, major criticism. Instead they just have pissed off individuals wandering around their respective cities, angrily mumbling about the fact that it is 90 degrees and sunny and they're wearing wellies.

Weather people on the news are right about 50% of the time.* Yes, coin flip territory. But lately I noticed they have taken to predicting a bit of everything, possibly to help fudge those numbers. "Tomorrow will be slightly cloudy, partial sunshine with a chance of rain that could develop into storms with a high UV index, so bring the sunscreen." A whole lot of options, none of which help me decide what is appropriate to wear.

The worst culprits seem to be the weather app people. I have two weather apps on my phone, the iPhone one and the Weather Channel one. They alternate between which will be further from the mark on any given day. I will be standing at the window, looking at the rain pouring down and glance at my phone which will read "cloudy" for my location.

The hourly forecast does, in fact, change hourly. So if I am leaving the house at 8 am and attempting to predict what kind of outerwear/sunscreen I should have that day, I might as well pick from a hat. At 8 am it says 1:00 pm will be 70 and sunny with 0% chance of rain. At 11 am it says that 1:00 pm will be cloudy with a 15% chance of rain... but by then I am out of the house just hoping that this newly discovered chance of rain isn't serious. At 1:00 pm I am getting rained on, wet and pissed off that I trusted this thing again, despite knowing better.

My main point of objection (today, at least) is the new method of temperature reporting I recently noticed. See this:
It's 85... or is it?
And this:
Why even have a temperature?
Can someone please explain to me how it can feel like one temperature while it is a completely different temperature? I'm not even talking wind chills or any of that nonsense. I'm talking about what temperature it is out. If it feels like 92, then isn't it 92?  Isn't that what temperature is? If not, when did this change? Why have we, as a society chosen to overcomplicated things in this way? Is this a millennial thing? Regardless, is it too late to go back?

Call me old fashioned, but when I was a kid, if it felt like 84, it was 84! But, then again, it was a simpler time. My biggest issues with technology at that time were busy signals, un-rewound VHS tapes, and having to blow on a Nintendo cartridge to get it to work. Numbers stood for something I understood. Nowadays there's always the looming possibility of a thunderstorm and I'm not sure what 78 feels like anymore.

I wish we could go back to the carefree days of telling the temperature as the temperature. My only regret is that my children will never know the sheer thrill of it being 75 out and it actually feeling like it's 75. But then they get to grow up in a world where the sushi-burrito is a thing, so I guess they'll be OK in the long run.

*Obviously one of my made up statistics.

My husband chose the moment when he proof read this to take the opportunity to say that he thinks what the weather people do is nothing short of a miracle. While a part of me may agree with him, I am choosing to view this as some sort of micro aggression towards me, which I will go deal with now.


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