Enough already with the weather forecasts!
Day after day, night after night, we are threatened with severe thunderstorms, high winds, heavy downpours, hail, searing heat, unhealthy air, and who knows what else!
The weather people may command our attention with these dire forecasts, but how often do they get it right? Maybe half the time, at best. They certainly missed it last weekend with a few sprinkles instead of the dreaded rain and thunderstorms.
And in the meantime, we cancel picnics and visits to the pool and decide to stay at home instead of going to the mall or a restaurant, taking in a movie, or going for a bike ride in the countryside. Why make plans when we are told we?re going to get wet, blown away, or stranded?
And when a real and serious storm hits, they?ll miss that, too! Remember this March when up to 20 inches of wet snow was dumped on Washington ? completely to the surprise of the weather forecasters who couldn?t get to work the next day to make their excuses.
I know that forecasting the weather is hugely complex, with billions of factors plugged into billions of dollars worth of computers. But even with that, it seems that a forecast that is actually on target is the exception rather than the rule.
The weather forecasters are devising new ways to cover their tracks, such as a new category called ?widely scattered showers.? They are calling for rain, and will claim they got it right if Leesburg gets .01 of an inch of ?precip.?
We all are certainly weather-weary, especially after the terrible damage that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left in their wakes last year and the fear that it could happen again. But we shouldn?t let these people run our lives ? and often ruin our weekends ? week after week.
The weather forecasters are turning us all into couch potatoes ? afraid to make plans for fear we will get trapped in a rain or hail or wind or snowstorm. I say, stop the scare tactics, even if you do keep us glued to our radios and TVs.
You are going to cry wolf one too many times, and we won?t be listening when we really need to.
Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a non-profit research organization based in Alexandria, VA, that focuses on health policy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org