Thursday, 28 June 2007

Snow: weatherman 'didn't want to get people's hopes up' . HUH?

An extraordinary comment in The Times this morning, from one Mark Todd, forecaster at the South African Weather Service.

'Yes, it was snowing in Gauteng. In some parts it was sleeting, which is snow mixed with frozen raindrops.' Fair enough. But the report goes on to quote Todd saying:

'...the snow had been forecast earlier in the week, but had not been revealed in order not to get people’s hopes up.'

Not to get people's hopes up?? Consider this remark for a minute. Can this truly be the official position of our weather forecasting service, whose job it is to let us know in advance that the weather is about to change?

It's all very well to keep a bunch of eight-year-olds in the dark, in case they get so over-excited that they refuse to go to bed, but what about people whose livelihoods depend on knowing what the weather's about to do? (pilots, farmers, function planners spring to mind). And what about charitable organisations, who might have appreciated knowing in advance that snow would be falling on the shivering shoulders of the homeless on the streets of Johannesburg?

Granted, Todd may have been misquoted (and I sincerely hope he was). If this is really the position that the weather service takes, what are they going to do in the unlikely event of a killer hurricane heading our way? Keep quiet in case we all panic?

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Anonymous said...
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Tiny said...

That is a bit worrying.

I'm also hoping he's been misquoted but as you say, in the event a killer hurricane, maybe a heat wave of note... I'd certainly like to know about it so I can stay home safe and sound!

Juno said...

Thanks for the comment, tiny. Good point. I think I'm going to give up listening to weather forecasts from now on. I would have appreciated knowing the snow was coming... I certainly wouldn't have gone to bed at nine-thirty if I'd known snow was on the way!

angel said...

and i missed everything! didn't see nought but photos!