“This winter will be memorable for prolonged bitter cold and snowstorms so frequent that many communities will run out of rock salt.”
Do you remember which local TV weather forecaster said that in his long-range winter forecast last fall?
The answer: none of them.
Every year, the TV stations hype their meteorologists’ long-range winter forecasts, hoping we’ll tune in and then quickly forget their predictions. We decided to keep score this year.
Every inch of snow that falls will further bury those forecasts in disgrace. KDKA’s Jeff Verszyla, WPXI’s Stephen Cropper and WTAE’s Mike Harvey didn’t come close to guessing what this winter would bring.
As of the end of February, Mr. Harvey leads the trio in accuracy for his snowfall prediction, which is to say he missed it by only 20.4 inches. He guessed 38 inches would fall before March 1 — actual snowfall was 58.4 inches.
Mr. Cropper told us we’d have 33.5 inches through the end of February. Mr. Verszyla’s dart missed the board entirely, with a forecast of 26 inches through February, or less than half of what actually came down.
Mr. Verszyla said we’d get only 32 inches for the entire winter; counting the weekend’s snowfall, we’re at 60.8 inches for the season.
Mr. Harvey told us the average February temperature would be 1 degree below normal. He’s getting colder … colder. The actual average was 5.4 degrees below normal.
Mr. Verszyla said February temperatures would “nosedive below normal,” and Mr. Cropper said it would be the “coldest month.” Not exactly going out on a limb there, but Mr. Cropper even got that wrong: January’s average temperature of 22.1 degrees was 3.6 degrees colder than February’s average.
Our forecast: These gentlemen will be back in the fall with another round of shameless, self-promoting long-term forecasts. Viewers should take them with a truckload of salt.
Excellent, chilling report by The New York Times looks back (with video) at the I-35W Bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007 and how little the U.S. has done since then to address declining infrastructure. See it here.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline in Pittsburgh has risen by 14.4 cents per gallon in the past month, to $3.651, according to GasBuddy.com. That’s 20.6 cents above the national average but still 18.4 cents cheaper than the average price here a year ago. Gasoline prices are another thing that “experts” like to forecast well in advance, with mixed success.
We can state with utter certitude that Daylight-Saving Time begins this weekend, with clocks advancing by an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday. We are reasonably sure that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed in both directions between Butler Valley (Exit 39) and Allegheny Valley (Exit 48) from 11:59 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. Crews will remove overhead bridge beams at Route 910. The turnpike planned the closure for last weekend, but bailed because of the snow forecast. Traffic will be detoured via Routes 8, 28 and 910 and Freeport Road.
Pothole patching will cause lane closures on southbound Interstate 79 from Route 19 to Route 910 in Marshall from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
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