The Newnan Times-Herald


Faux storm

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Feb. 02, 2019 - 9:29 PM

Faux storm

The Newnan Times-Herald

It was the late 1980s.

Early April. Spring break started the next day. I went to bed expecting to sleep late.

Dawn broke, and I was jarred awake by two kids racing through the house screaming, “Snow, Snow. Snow. It snowed.”

I peeled back an eyelid and peeked out. Sure enough, our lawn was covered by four inches of snow that absolutely no one had predicted.

The only nationwide cable TV outlet in existence was Ted Turner’s WTBS, which was still content to pack the schedule with reruns of “Father Knows Best” and “I Love Lucy.”

Most Americans got their weather forecasts from local TV. When I checked a favorite Atlanta station to get an explanation for the blizzard, the red-faced announcer was saying, “Well, it looks like we just missed that one, folks. Mother Nature threw us a curveball.”

Not much has changed. Days ago, weather forecasters across the globe -- including Rahmir, a Pakistani teenager on YouTube -- were confidently announcing that my part of Georgia was set to be smothered by up to an inch of snow.

Since even a half inch of snow can bring daily life to a standstill around here, I reacted like any normal person.

Remembering that the last big winter storm had caused a power outage, I bought a generator. Then I bought fuel to run the generator and filled the tank on my car. On the way home I stood in line to buy bread, toilet paper and bottled water.

I don’t have a pet right now so I borrowed a doberman from the neighbors so I could bring it inside out of the cold. I even bought a propane-fueled coffee maker and a can of propane.

I did everything but install a small cannon in the front yard in case the Russians or people from Alabama tried something funny.

And nothing happened. Not a flake of snow fell on my yard. Not a flake. Why not? The TV weather people, including the “experts” on the Weather Channel, said, “Well, folks, I guess we goofed.”

They should have just hired Forrest Gump to tell us that, “Mama always said the weather is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

The next day, the same people who had predicted a week earlier that rising global temperatures would put Miami underwater in 20 years were trying to explain how they didn’t know it would get so cold in Chicago that polar bears at the Lincoln Park Zoo were booking rooms at the Ritz Carlton.

Life was easier when TV weather persons were hired based on their smile, hairdo and ability to make viewers comfortable as they spewed weather predictions that might as well have been cooked up on a Ouija board.

Leaders of our precious Republic swear endlessly that they are serious about cutting federal spending. Here's an idea -- why not slash every dime of government funding for weather research and forecasting and just mail every citizen a copy of the Farmer's Almanac, which has been publishing annual weather predictions since 1818.

On average, the Farmer’s Almanac is more accurate than the Weather Channel, NASA and NOAA combined at predicting tomorrow's weather.

The Farmer's Almanac also dishes out advice for better living. The day after the no-show snow, the FA said it was a good day to “Cut hair to slow growth” and “castrate  farm animals.”

I’m halfway there.

Alex McRae is the author of “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love.” He can be reached at: .