We need to have a talk about your favorite weather person.
Whether it’s Gary or Mike or Joe or Bryan, Katie, Neville, Karli, Daiesha, Ronelle – listen, let’s first address that there are 20 or so weather folks working in Kansas City for our four television stations.
The past two weeks you might’ve seen some of these 20 strutting around like jackpot winners at a local casino with claims of how they “bullseyed” the last snowstorm with their “predictions.” Let them crow. They said it was going to snow and it snowed. This instantly wipes away the last three times they said it was going to snow and it didn’t.
The amount of technology that goes into each one of the local weather forecasts could pilot the International Space Station to Jupiter, and yet we still get it wrong as often as we get it right.
Part of it is our fault. We are expecting launch coordinates from our weather people. These computers are powerful, but cannot yet predict the future even close to accurately.
We need to rethink what we are asking from our forecasters. The old Farmer’s Almanac took care of our agrarian lifestyles. It told you when to plant crops and when the moon would be fully waxing or waning. Then the Dan Henrys of the world told you whether it would be hot tomorrow or cold tomorrow. Now the Gary Lezak’s of the world come in with their double-triple dopplers and jars of snake oil telling you when it will rain on your street down to the minute.
They ain’t there yet, kids. These forecasters would do well to redefine what they’re telling us. For me, I want to know whether I can drive in snow, or whether my kid’s baseball game is going to be rained out. I don’t need to know there will be 2.20″ of rain between 4:14 and 4:48 PM. I want to know if it’s going to be really bad, bad, or just Kansas City bad.
Now, Kansas City bad is something we need to come to an agreement on, but generally, it’s where the weather is annoying, but not overly impactful. In the spring, it’s that 42 degree day with 15 mile an hour winds. Generally this is on the Royals Opening Day. That doesn’t mean that we won’t be splitting a case of Busch Light in the parking lot before the game. It’s only “Kansas City” bad. “Bad” would mean that there will be enough snow that it’ll take a day to clear. So you better make sure you don’t have anywhere to be. Last Thursday was only “bad,” it wasn’t “real bad.”
Real bad needs to be reserved for tornado season or the rarest of rare one foot of snow. There are, typically, about five days out of the year that might qualify. I don’t need the statistics. I don’t need graphs or charts or 19 different colors of precipitation on the radar telling me what type of rain we’re going to get. Tell me if it’s going to be Kansas City bad, bad, or really bad.
By the same token, tell me if it’s going to be nice, really nice, or Kansas City nice. Nice, to me, is a summer day around 80 degrees. Really nice might be that late September afternoon where it’s in the mid-60’s with a light breeze. “Kansas City nice” was this past Monday when it was 70 degrees one day and 25 degrees the next.
That’s really all I need. That way, you don’t have to be “perfect” or hit every bullseye every time. You just need to tell me whether I need to bring an umbrella or hide in my storm shelter. Maybe then you’ll be “Kansas City right.”
(Our man Chris Kamler is always Kansas City right, right there on Twitter as @TheFakeNed)