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Why The Schools Got It Right Today By Closing [Editorial]

Winter School Bus
onepony – ThinkStock

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I wouldn’t want to be a meteorologist. When the forecast goes exactly as you predict, nobody really notices or makes a point to thank you. But when a forecast “busts”, people are calling for your head.

Obviously, we had one of those busts today for coastal Ocean County, and there’s no lack of Tuesday morning quarterbacks who are ready to pillory the closest weather forecaster today.

But I think there are a few things that we need to keep in mind here:

Meteorologists have to go with what they’ve got. They take all the data available and make the best forecast that they can. That’s why it’s called a “prediction”. There is still an awful lot that we don’t know about nature. A weather person can take all of the good data in the world and put together a scientifically backed-up forecast, and nature can still throw us a curve ball. That’s what happened.

In the grand scheme of human history, we haven’t been forecasting the weather for very long, less than 200 years. Considering some scientific disciplines go back hundreds and even thousands of years, meteorology is still in its relative infancy. It’s not perfect.

If we were under a foot of snow and schools didn’t close, it would be much, much worse. Arranging day care is a hassle. Taking off of work because the kids are home is inconvenient. But school bus accidents are worse than hassles and inconveniences.

Why do they need to make the call the night before? Well, because we, society, demands it. In the days before social media, the teachers would get a heads up the night before and kids would gather around the radio in the morning to hear if their school was on the list.

But social media ruined that. Teachers would get the heads up the night before, then someone would tweet it out or post it on Facebook, and suddenly it goes viral and the school now has to make an official statement to confirm or deny. Our thirst for instant gratification caused this.

And here we are now.

Most of Ocean County’s schools made the call last night when all of the available data was showing at least some snow. Mother Nature took a left hand turn and we ended up with rain. If it had gone the other way, we’d be buried like parts of Pennsylvania are right now.

So let’s not beat up on the weather forecasters too much. They’re doing the best that they can with the data that they have available. These are people who are trying to do the best at their jobs that they can.

Would you like it if someone came to your job and told you that you suck?

I didn’t think so.

 

Up Next – Not at school today? You can still show your school spirit, Round 2 of Mascot Madness 2017 is here!

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The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 92.7 WOBM, Townsquare Media, its employees, or advertisers.

 

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