We have an informal rule around the Root Simple offices: never talk about the weather. Why? Most of our readers are not local and the weather here in Los Angeles is boring and predictable. Usually it’s sunny and mild.
Severe drought makes our weather newsworthy. California grows a lot of food. In an essay about talking about the weather, Samuel Johnson reminds us that “it is the present state of the skies and of the earth, on which plenty and famine are suspended, on which millions depend for the necessaries of life.”
Due to the increasing weirdness of our weather I nervously check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecasts with greater frequency than I used to. You would think that those NOAA forecasts would be devoid of humor. You would be wrong. As befits anyone who has to wrestle with a complex system, NOAA’s writings have a personal voice, especially when you click on the “Forecast Discussion” link to read a kind of raw discussion between NOAA scientists. Here’s a recent all-caps missive from a NOAA forecast discussion:
WOULD LOVE TO REPORT THAT THE LONG RANGE MDLS HAVE COME INTO GOOD AGREEMENT AND THAT THERE IS SOME SORT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE LONG TERM FORECAST. THAT…HOWEVER…IS NOT THE CASE. EC TOOK A TURN FOR THE WEIRD AND DELAYS THE STORM TO TUESDAY. GFS SEEMS A LITTLE SLOWER TOO. SO RIGHT NOW FEEL PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT RAIN CHANCES WILL BE LIMITS TO THE CENTRAL COAST ON SUNDAY. RAIN MIGHT DEVELOP MONDAY OR IT MIGHT HOLD OFF UNTIL TUESDAY OR IF THE NEW EC IS CORRECT TUESDAY NIGHT. REALLY GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE LIKE RAY GUY AND PUNT THIS FCST INTO TOMORROW AND HOPE FOR SOME KIND OF AGREEMENT. FOR NOW JUST CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY THAT MONDAY AND/OR TUESDAY WILL BE WET. BOTH EC AND GFS CONTINUE TO ADVERTISE A 6 HOUR PERIOD OF DECENT RAIN JUST NO IDEA WHEN.
Not sure what “MAKE LIKE RAY GUY” means. Maybe it’s a typo? “Rain Guy” maybe? And I haven’t figured out the acronyms yet, but I love that the “EC TOOK A TURN FOR THE WEIRD.”
Dr. Johnson’s essay ends with a plea to take a stoic approach to unpredictable forces like the weather, “Every man, however he may distrust himself in the extremes of good or evil, might at least struggle against the tyranny of the climate, and refuse to enslave his virtue or his reasons to the most variable of all variations, the change of the weather.” Given that the weather here over the past few years has been oppressively hot, it may be time to start sewing up that caftan.
In the interest of breaking the Root Simple taboo about weather talk, where are you and what’s the weather like?