Happy Little Clouds and Weather Propaganda

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Britain's Meteorological Office has instructed forecasters to describe the country's damp, dismal, seasonal-affect-disorder-inducing, godawful weather in Bob Rossian terms:

Prolonged sunshine is expected under new "positive" forecast guidelines issued by the Meteorological Office…

There is no need to dwell on a "small chance of showers" when "mainly dry" tells a better story. If there are "localised storms" then it must be "dry for most". Clouds over Manchester mean generally clear visibility for motorway drivers.

Brits, in my experience, are intensely proud of their unlivable weather conditions and Third World heating facilities, so I doubt they'll fancy a kinder, gentler weatherman.

Whole thing here.

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  1. Prolonged sunshine is expected under new “positive” forecast guidelines issued by the Meteorological Office…

    If this was the $100,000 Pyramid, I’d guess, “Things that Castro or Chavez would say.”

  2. That is reminescent of how Scotland Yard cooks the books on gun crime to make their gun laws look successful (i.e. if a gun wasn’t discharged it doesn’t count as a gun related crime.)

    Of course, the FBI counts it as a gun crime if a suspected criminal keeps his hand in his pocket in order to feed the frenzy of those who want the US to have British-like gun laws.

    But then, I have never been able to tell what is better, partly cloudy or partly sunny. Either way, my tin foil hat keeps the rain off my ears.

  3. Well, it’s not as though weather people are honest now. I lived in Chicago for four years, and at no time did I hear an honest forcast, which would have sounded like, “Tomorrow will be cold, windy, wet, and shitty. In fact, that goes for every day until about May.”

  4. The forecasts in Central NY are usually pretty good in the winter. “The city of Fulton is getting pounded for the third day in a row. Oswego is closed.”

  5. I seem to be the quote jockey here recently. P.J. O’Rourke, on the English:

    Racial Characteristics:
    Cold-blooded queers with nasty complexions and terrible teeth who once conquered half the world but still haven’t figured out central heating. They warm their beers and chill their baths and boil all their food, including bread.

    – Josh

  6. And Watertown is missing.

  7. Mona Gorilla lives!

  8. U.S. weathermen are a strange breed of entertainer. Especially morning weathermen. I wish they’d cut the dosage on most days.
    I also like Billy Crystal’s Old Jewish Weatherman forecast bit:
    Friday: You can’t complain.
    Saturday: Feh.
    Sunday: Don’t be such a big shot, take a jacket.

  9. “The weather out there today is hot and shitty with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon. Tomorrow a chance of continued crappy with a pissy weather front coming down from the north.”

    A2C Cronauer

  10. Is it common that one thinks the weather in their area is the worst?

    Because DC totally fucking sucks. From April to October it’s 90 plus degrees with 90 percent humidity. Festering swamp indeed.

  11. In my corner of the world, there seems to have been lately a subtle shift towards more ambiguity in weather forecasts. In the winter, I seldom hear the word “snow” anymore–but I see snow all the time. Weathermen have moved to using the word “precipitation,” an admission that they don’t know what the hell is coming down tomorrow. Also, the temperature ranges given for any particular day have been expanded–I am told that tomorrow’s highs will be “65-79.” There are, to my mind, three distinct types of days within that range. All I can infer from such a forecast is to not wear snowpants, and that is good advice generally. In the past year my local TV weatherman has taken to putting question marks (really!!) into the little pictoral representations of the forecast; it will say “Showers??” Why is he asking ME? And just like a grocery store puts the milk and eggs along the far wall, the local news puts the weather towards the end, so I am forced to sit through a bunch of stories about 3-legged puppies rescuing blind kids from burning silos.

    I am not so sure that “mainly dry” is better than “small chance of showers.” It certainly isn’t for the guy who finds himself at the wrong end of that scale of probability without a mack.

  12. “Is it common that one thinks the weather in their area is the worst?”

    Mr. Nice Guy, it may be common, but having once spent June and July in D.C., I’ll reassure you that you have it worse than any other place I’ve ever been.

  13. Worst is a highly subjective term. If you hate humidity and heat then DC is going to be as close to bad as you can get. On the other hand, if you don’t like the cold…uh, DC is…nevermind

  14. So the New Orleans forecast would have been “Some sun, with occassional dry periods; winds from the South slightly breezier than normal; some areas may see high tides.”

  15. Meteorologist are the only people that can be wrong over 50% of the time and still keep their jobs. Lucky bastards

  16. Think your weather is bad NOW?

  17. Cleveland weather: typically winter is from mid-October through mid-May. Winter consists of ridiculous amounts of lake-effect snow, sub-zero freezing temperatures, windchill from the lake effect, and lots of sludge and slush from the overabundance of roads in disrepair and road salt. I also saw a fairly reputable weather site once that characterized Cleveland as overcast (on average) for about 9 or 10 months of the year. Kind of helps to explain the phenomenon of Harvey Pekar types in Cleveland, at least. Well, that and the ridiculously corrupt and ineffective politicians and bureaucrats.

  18. Mike, that’s not exactly true. A baseball hitter must make a decision to swing and if he misses or fails to hit safely 70% of the time, he is celebrated and well paid as a 300 hitter.

  19. Smacky-At least you have something to break up the monotony. In Seattle, a couple years ago we had overcast skies from late October to late February. Almost 120 days, and no sun, no snow and very little rain. And every year it’s similar to this. Seasonal Affective Disorder capital of the world, I tell you.

  20. Shem, it’s enough to make you want to strangle Perry Como. The bluest skies you ever seen… what a load of Chamber of Commerce crap.

  21. Nah, New York weather is OK. A little sticky in the summer, a little raw in the winter, but tolerable. Of course, I liked Phoenix weather, too. My personal vote for worst goes to New Orleans (and that was before the hurricane!) Basically 90 degrees and 100% humidity all the time. You’d take a shower in the morning and hang up your towel, and it would still be just as wet at 9 that evening.

  22. Laramie, WY has great weather. Lots of snow in winter, great summers with low humidity, and the incessant 25 mph winds dry your clothes in minutes.

  23. The first part of the title should be “Little Fluffy Clouds” in honour of The Orb.

  24. The one thing I truly dislike about NYC is the weather. The summers are disGUSting, and I don’t care if it’s “worse” elsewhere – it’s still intolerable to me. (And I kind of miss the real winters of my Rochester and Buffalo youth.) My biggest weatherman pet peeve is the chirpy cheerfulness with which they announce any high over 80, or the dejected sadness of 79 or under – knowing full well that 80 degrees in NYC is rarely comfortable. Grrr!

  25. I’d recommend cute little pig pictures for the British forecasts, happy smiling pig for sunny, happy smiling pig for rain and slush.

  26. Seattle weather is horrid. Rainy, miserable and disgusting except for maybe two days a year. Absolutely nobody from california would ever want to move up here. Really, trust me on this. You’d hate it. Move to Oregon, I’ve heard they have great weather.

  27. The best weather report I ever heard was from radion station KSHE in St. Louis, as reported by the most fired man in radio, J.C. Corcoran, and hereby reproduced in its entirety.

    “Today’s weather: Rain like hell.”

  28. NoStar- Oh, but they are. Nothing like only seeing that much blue once a year to overwhelm a person. In fact, I’ve seen people cower in horror when the sun comes out, wondering why god has seen fit to send a massive ball of flame straight for us. For such a agnostic area, they sure are superstitious.

  29. Silly Johnny. They’re Californians. They can’t read.

  30. Geez, you guys think you have it bad? Try temperatures cold enough to freeze CO2, and dust storms far as the eye can see.

    And then we visit your backwards little planet for some R&R, and everybody makes a fuss! But hey, the food is cheap!!

  31. 72 and snow.

  32. i had a weatherman in KC get the phase of the moon wrong in a forecast
    beat that.

  33. smacky, on the plus side, at least we Clevelanders can drive in the goddamned snow, right? I mean, we can control the car and drive reasonably safely. The first year I moved to DC, in 2000, there was a 100-car pileup — you read that right, 100 cars — on I-95 just south of Alexandria in less than two inches of snow. That same year, on the night of the first snowfall — which amounted to little more than light dusting, what we North Coasters wouldn’t even consider worth putting on a jacket for — my wife, driving 20 miles from Fairfax to Alexandria, sat in a two hour traffic jam.

    I used to bitch about sitting on I-71 into the city in winter, and believe me, I wish I had that back right about now.

  34. smacky, on the plus side, at least we Clevelanders can drive in the goddamned snow, right? I mean, we can control the car and drive reasonably safely. The first year I moved to DC, in 2000, there was a 100-car pileup — you read that right, 100 cars — on I-95 just south of Alexandria in less than two inches of snow.

    I think that’s because we’re trained to drive in sick amounts of snow and ice. Still, as an honorary eskimo, I have my limits when driving. I’ve had my share of close calls, even when driving my safest. The immobility kills me in the thick of Cleveland winters. I blame mass amounts of snow for preventing me from getting to my gym at night for weeks on end, seriously. I am technically fatter because of too much snow.(I’m going to sue.)

  35. I blame mass amounts of snow for preventing me from getting to my gym at night for weeks on end, seriously. I am technically fatter because of too much snow.*

    *Not due merely to my inability to drive to the gym, but also because in my deranged state of cabin fever I consumed much too much fatty Clevelander human flesh whilst snowbound.

  36. ….Kidding! jeez

    That’s where nearly 12 hours at the office gets me at the end of the day.

  37. Odd: the Co.mmerce Dep’t is esta.blishing “mess.age control” here in the U.S.

  38. Smacky:

    you bet. driving county line road to school – back then it was mainly fields with very few houses – could be an adventure at times. cleveland winters are “better” than chicago ones. basically no snow (comparatively), so that means gray, grey, gray, grey here.

    so you eat and gain weight. with no “can’t-get-to-the-gym” excuse. so if you’re catholic (i’m not), it’s a source of guilt. which apparently is a good thing.

    🙂

  39. oh – sorry i forgot:

    and of course the cleveland foods of kielbasa and cornedbeef on raisin bread don’t help…

  40. We moved from Albuquerque to Oakland a few years back. By New Mexico standards the Bay Area doesn’t even have weather. If someone spots lightning within fifty miles of San Francisco it’s the lead story on the friggin’ 11 O’Clock news.

  41. Can you believe it? It was in the low 80’s most of the day with the sun out the whole time. Man, San Diego sucks

  42. I’m actually glad I live in the SF bay area, weatherwise anyway. I recently visited N. Carolina where the humidity nearly killed me, I loved the place otherwise, though I hear it gets pretty cold there in the winter. The weather here rules!

  43. “My biggest weatherman pet peeve is the chirpy cheerfulness with which they announce any high over 80, or the dejected sadness of 79 or under”

    Soul brother. Years ago, when I actually watched cable TV, there was this jackass forcaster who would cheerfully announce hot humid days and bitch/whine when it dropped below 75. I swear to christ, don’t people have metabolisms? What are they, fucking reptiles?

    I say this all the time. The very moment I retire, I’m moving to Alaska. Three reasons: open area, tolerable weather, and 4 oz legal.

  44. I lived in Northern Ireland for a year and let me tell you: those weather people struggle on a daily basis to predict the weather without using the word rain. The amusing part of all that is everyone knows they are full of shit and that a hail storm is going to break out later in the day as the sun is shining brightly.

    Maybe the weather folks have teamed up with the tv license people to learn about creating absurd policy…

  45. I don’t know what the Brits are complaining about in a forecast such as “small chance of showers”. In the states, the same forecast would be communicated as “huge, civilization ending storm approaching – details at 11”. When I lived in St. Louis, I remember that the local news successfully predicted 11 of the last 3 snowstorms.

  46. it’s nice living in a place where the weather just ROCKS!! 🙂 GO DENVER!

    it is unpredictable here, though. It was 88 on monday and dropped down to freezing last night.

  47. Or, they can just say that the Dementors are breeding and that’s why the weather is so gloomy.

  48. The very moment I retire, I’m moving to Alaska

    What are you, a polar bear? Freezing cold in the winter and humid and icky with massive mosquitos in the summer. They have to have 4 oz. legal up there, otherwise people would kill each other.

  49. The smoke would keep the mosquitos away 🙂

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