The science of weatherforecasting takes another hit

Couldn't help being amused by the contrast between the picture painted by multiple weather forecasts on Denver TV stations last night and the one that confronted me this morning when I drove to work. Last night, the tone of folks like Channel 9's Kathy Sabine suggested an irony-free version of predictions by a certain Dr. Peter Venkman: "Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" This morning, however, only a relatively benign rain/sleet blend confronted me, my fellow drivers and Channel 7 weatherman Mike Nelson, who stayed the night at or near the station's studio in order to deliver the morning weathercast, so certain was he that we'd wake up to heaps of white stuff so heavy that it'd snap the limbs off every tree in town. Granted, the storm's supposed to intensify later today, which probably isn't good news to drivers of the five snowplows I saw on my way to work, who were puttering around aimlessly, looking for something/anything to do. But even if things get hairy this afternoon, the notably sedate a.m. commute serves as a reminder that just because precipitation prognosticators use language that rings with absolute certitude, as they did last night, it doesn't mean they can guarantee what happens in the future any more than you can.

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