Refusing to learn from experience

Sometimes, there is some wisdom in doing something yourself so you can actually understand it.  Regarding the winter weather debacle in Georgia, this is NOT one of those times.   This is not the sort of thing you want to figure out for yourself, any more than you want your architect to forget about silly things like plans so you can just “play it by ear”.  Learn from the wisdom and experience of others.  Hell, learn from your own experience, Atlanta.   It’s been only 3 years since your last winter storm nightmare.  Besides, your traffic is gridlocked in perfect weather on a normal day.  I have been there, I know.  Whenever I was driving to Macon for the weekend, I avoided Atlanta completely.  What made you think having everyone go home at the same time during a snowstorm was a good idea?

I know I am repeating myself here, but employers (including governments) should take this sort of thing seriously.  Sure, there will be times when you cancel school and nothing really bad happens.  That happened here in Greater Boston recently.  They forecast the conditions.  They don’t make the decisions for you.  So don’t blame the meteorologists.  They did what they were supposed to do.  Note the stuff at the bottom showing the exact forecasts.  They gave everyone a correct forecast, with estimates and ranges, and they kept updating their forecast.  What should have happened is that silly luncheon should have been postponed and the people in charge of Georgia and Atlanta should have gone back to work and directed their respective responses to the storm as it developed, not just react long after the fact when it can’t do any good.  Declaring an emergency after 5 PM is not the right time, especially when the NWS issued the warning fourteen hours before  at 3:39 AM.  A longtime friend of the family living in the Atlanta area was stuck in her car for 6 hours, until she finally abandoned it and spent the next 4 hours walking home in that weather.

The weather professionals warned you, but you didn’t listen.   This is what happens when you don’t take things seriously, and when half the people in your state think climatologists with PhDs don’t know half as much about weather and climate as some ultra-conservative guy with the talk show on AM radio.  I hear this crap all the time.  The weather forecast says 50% chance of snow.  So if it snows, people say “DUH YEAH HOW ABOUT 100% CHANCE, YOU DUMB WEATHERMAN”.  And if it doesn’t, they rail even harder.  That isn’t what a forecast means.  It’s about probabilities, not certainties.  Think of it as a point spread prediction, but for rain or snow. How many people scream at the sportscasters the way they scream about weathermen?  Not as many, I would bet.

So yeah, like I have said on this blog before, don’t think it can never happen to you, because that is when things usually go to hell in a handbasket and Fate comes around to deliver a swift kick to your… ego.

-Geoff

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