I didn’t see my shadow last night, so you know what that means: six more weeks of a job hiatus. It also means everything in the universe is good because the sun does not shine at night. According to “The Old Alan’s Almanac,” since I didn’t see my shadow, I’ll return to TV in Mobile in six weeks.
If you had not heard, I parted with my old TV station in June and I will be starting back up at NBC15 in January. None of it was planned or schemed, but that’s just the way things worked out. I’m good with that. I’ll pick up where I left off, as chief meteorologist.
You’ll still be able to read my weather column here in Lagniappe. In case you are looking, no, I don’t really have a weather almanac. But you might. I’m not talking about “Dr. Bill’s Marine and Weather Almanac.”
There’s an old almanac that farmers and families have referenced for generations. It was once geared toward agriculture. It has home, garden and astronomy trivia and folklore and it also has weather forecasts. They are not forecasts like those you get on NBC15, but they are outlooks. A forecast is specific to a day and location, whereas an outlook is broad in time and space.
I don’t know the secret formula used to come up with the weather predictions in that old almanac, but I can tell you they are broad in location and vague enough in days and details that it’s hard to argue whether they are right or wrong.
If I had an almanac, I would tell you that in the Southeast in late July 2034, there will be a stretch of humid, hot days with thunderstorms in some locations. I would “predict” light, cold rain in western Washington state in early January 3030. How about some tropical activity threatening a coastline in early September 2149?
All of that is climate — the typical weather you expect at a certain time of year. The way I worded those, it will be difficult for you and your multiple grandkids to say they are wrong. Averages over large areas are not too hard to get right, but daily details in a single city are tough to predict, especially more than a week in advance. It doesn’t matter what almanac you read or what computer model you use.
No model or almanac can help me know the exact weather here in six weeks, on the day when I cross the threshold of NBC15 in January. We all would expect it to be cool and dry, but what you expect and what you get are two different things.
If I had an almanac, I would include a prediction for my first night on the job: After sunset, it will get dark. If it doesn’t, we are in trouble.
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