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Tony Kornheiser

A Washington Citizen Demands: Who Stole Our Stormy Weather?

March 14, 2001|Tony Kornheiser

Editor's Note: Tony Kornheiser apologizes in advance to any readers who got socked by last week's alleged Snowstorm of the Century in the Northeast. Obviously, he did not.

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In my next life, I want to come back as a weatherman.

That way, I can be dead wrong 80% of the time and not get fired.

Excuse me, what happened to the snow?

The storm was supposed to get to Washington, D.C., on Sunday, and snow through Monday and Tuesday.

Except by midday Monday the sun was out, the sky was blue and whatever snow had fallen was gone. Tuesday, I believe I wore shorts.

It's the second time this winter that Washington's expert weathermen predicted an apocalyptic amount of snow and we didn't get jack. A couple of years ago here a dusting was infamously predicted at dawn. By 9 a.m., we were on our way to 11 inches. It was like waking up inside an Eskimo Pie!

The same hairdos are still predicting the weather. Apparently, this is like the Supreme Court. No matter what fool opinion you have, they can't get rid of you. Who hands out jobs like this? Katherine Harris?

Last week, they stood there with a straight face and said, You haven't seen this much snow since the last scene in "Scarface." They swept their arms to show you where the snow was going to hit. They waved their hands up high with the clouds, down low with the approaching front. They're so agile. They're always putting things in motion. It's like they're doing tai chi. Only tai chi is better at predicting the weather.

Excuse me, Tony. Aren't you being a bit harsh? These are weather professionals. Members of the American Meteorological Society.

What did they do to join, send in box tops? Wear a beanie with a windsock?

What a racket. These guys have all the bells and whistles, including the color-coded digital Doppler radar. The colors swirl and pulsate on the radar screen. It looks like a lava lamp. For all the good it does, it may actually be a lava lamp.

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The day after blowing the forecast, weathermen don't even do the honorable thing--go on the air, strip off their shirts and beat themselves until they bleed. Instead, they rationalize. They say, "We were in the rain band, not the snow band."

No kidding. And I'm in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Where's the snow?

You don't see weathermen in California predicting earthquakes, do you? Stick to what you do best. You're a meteorologist, dammit. Predict meteors.

I love when the anchor tosses it to the storm center and these guys come running onto the set holding the latest info in their hands, like Moses coming down from the mountain. Oh, please. Like any of them do anything but rip the forecast from the National Weather Service wire and feed it into the TelePrompTer. Here's all they really know about weather: It beats selling shoes.

You stand there smugly among your radar echoes and scare us to death. You send us scurrying for snow shovels and Halite. And nothing happens.

And without even a trace of irony you blame: the weather!

Oh, I get it. You're saying: The weather, hey, it's unpredictable.

Why didn't I think of that?

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What I'd like is if they replaced all our weather divas with chimps. That's right, chimpanzees. They're cute, they're cheap, they're low-maintenance. Everybody loves 'em.

Here's my friend Nancy's idea: The TV station lines up some props--say, a snow shovel, a pair of sunglasses, a raincoat, a parka, a straw hat, a pair of boots and an umbrella. They turn the chimp loose. He picks one up, and there's your AccuWeather forecast! If he picks the straw hat, you head for the beach. If he picks the snow shovel, Hello, you're dead.

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