Friday, December 12, 2008

critical weather non-event

Well they are at it again. The bloody weathermen. What a cushy job. Costantino our neighbour gets it right more times than they do. Perhaps we should get him on TV, poking the camera with his stick and spitting the equivalent of bah humbug in Italian at it. Normally these official boffin wallies can’t predict the weather, or a disaster come to that, when it is actually happening around them. They tell you all the north is now absorbing copious quantities of rain and you look out the window and you see blue skies and sun. So we have learnt that the nearest thing to accurate is, a German on-line weather map which usually gets it almost right and there is without doubt a weather front coming towards us, the one that tonight is piddling on the UK. It doesn’t look particularly unusual to me but despite this, tonight we have an ‘extreme weather’ warning for Sunday night. This is what they say:

“From Sunday an impressive snowfall, partly at low altitudes with possible critical situations for all mountain areas including the foothills. The already high risk of avalanches will be increased still further as will the levels of the rivers on the flatlands. Climbing, and off-piste skiing should be avoided.” They go on to say that there will be a meter to a meter and a half of snow over 800m (we are 700m) and floods on the flatlands. Oh, right! Today is Friday, this means that they have to get it right 2 days in advance. Two days??!! Perhaps a trip to the betting shop might be in order. I could do with some money.

But they keep doing this. They get everyone all worked up, extreme wind, extreme rain, snow, heat; always critical, always an emergency, worrying the elderly and the local authorities who don’t know how to act and usually all for nothing. But being of the scouting mentality I always prefer to be prudent and prepare for the worst. Usually you get your gear sorted out make plans and arrangements baton stuff down, tie doors closed, get everything under cover, fill the tractor up with diesel and then…. poof, it all fizzles out with a light breeze, drizzle, a centimeter of snow or a fine summer’s day, but you never know, one day they might get it right. Why do they do this? Covering their arses I suppose. But if, every time the weather is just a wee bit out of the ordinary, they report it as critical, people will stop believing them (as I have) and then when you do actually get critical, people start to die because they weren’t alerted. So this time too we will prepare, but this time I wanted to write this before the (non)-event. Woozle’s bah humbug weather service: late Sunday afternoon or very early Monday morning swift but heavy snowfall in mountain areas with anything up to 10-15 centimeters of snow maybe even 20 centimeters. Up to 50cm around and above 1000m. Going on Tuesday, gone by wednesday.
I just got tutted by the wife who says that using other peoples weather maps to predict the weather doesn’t count. So I just popped my head out of the door, looked at the sky (very nice – clear, stars, full moon) and sniffed the air and confirm my predictions. Watch this space.

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