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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Hurricane Ian and the Shortcomings of Weather (and Climate) Forecasting

In the days prior to hurricane Ian’s devastating landfall, millions of Americans were anxiously pouring over Ian’s forecasted “cone” and “spaghetti” models. These models, and the accompanying forecasts, played a huge role in policies that were meant to protect lives and property.

As Ian crept towards Florida, millions were evacuated, homes and businesses were boarded up, and scheduled events were cancelled, moved, or postponed. Tragically, for parts of Florida fears of what Ian would bring indeed proved true. However, in the area where I live—northeast Georgia—Ian-based precautions proved ill-advised.

Northeast Georgia is hundreds of miles from any U.S. coast, yet as early as the Monday (9/26) prior to Ian’s Florida landfall, schools across our area, and throughout Georgia, begin to change their schedules due to the possible impact of hurricane Ian. This was especially the case with Friday-night football. As reported by our local media, 17 out of the 20 games involving Northeast Georgia high school football teams moved from Friday evening to Thursday evening. This move also impacted numerous JV and middle school games, which are typically played on Thursdays.

Such a move might seem like a small thing, but, along with the players, cheer leaders, band members, and school officials involved, countless schedules—work, and the like—of parents and fans were also impacted. As we got to Thursday, it seemed clear that Ian’s impact in our area would be minimal. As Friday arrived, Ian’s impact was less than minimal. There was no rain, and only a slight breeze. Late Friday night—after midnight—a few showers grazed extreme northeast Georgia, and that was it.

Rescheduled football games were not the only Ian-based decisions made by Georgia school officials. Several central Georgia systems cancelled classes on Friday, or switched to the dreaded “virtual learning” schedule. Again, Ian’s impact in these areas was also minimal to nothing.

I say this not to lambast school administrators who made these decisions. Central and northern Georgia have, in the not-too-distant past, have seen significant damage due to the remnants of a hurricane or tropical storm. However, the missed forecasts of a weather event that was only days away should give us great pause when it comes to climate forecasts that speak of events that are typically decades or even centuries away.

We see failed weather forecasts constantly, as I’ve noted before, more than once. Yet millions throughout the world—with religious dedication—continue to buy the left’s doom-and-gloom forecasts when it comes to the global climate. Again, the lesson is this: if weather forecasters often get events wrong that are only days away, there’s no way we should put any faith in climate forecasts that are years away.

(See this post at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2022, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America


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