Give weathermen a break

Published 4:53 pm Thursday, October 11, 2018

There are a lot of jokes about weathermen out there. A quick Google search will show a billion one-liners, usually making fun of how a often a meteorologist can be wrong and still have a job.

For instance, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 92,748 times, you are a weatherman.”

I’ll be the first to admit that my understanding of weather is rather dumbed down. Clouds in the sky? Watch for rain. Getting cold? Wear a jacket. However, I’ll also admit that weather has always fascinated me.

Not only is following the weather pertinent for my job, so that I can keep the readers of Troup County up to date on any developments, but it’s also something that’s always gotten my attention.

Despite living in central Georgia, my settings are set up so that the National Hurricane Center shows up first on my Facebook timeline. I also have family spread throughout Florida, so staying informed makes me feel better about their well-being.

When Hurricane Michael first started forming late last week, I wasn’t very concerned. First projections didn’t show the storm increasing to a category four. Eventually, as we all know now, the storm became the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Florida panhandle.

Hurricanes are not easy to track and their projected route often shifts as more information comes in. For instance, remember Hurricane Irma last year? It was first projected to be a direct hit of Miami, but ended up skirting the opposite side of Florida.

In Michael’s case, the men and women at the National Hurricane Center seemed to nail the path from the start. There was a slight shift early in the week, moving it further south — away from Troup County — but little changes after that.

My parents live in Pensacola, and they worried all week that the storm might take a westward turn, but it never did. I have other family in DeFuniak Springs,  about an hour from Panama City, that stuck it out. Their forecast was practically the same all week.

In Troup County, we knew we’d receive heavy rain and winds, and thankfully that’s all we got.

We all give weathermen a hard time, but this time — and many times really — they get it right. That doesn’t help all the people on coast trying to pick up the pieces right now, but it probably did save many lives.