Careful with those predicitions

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

The first time, it was a fluke. When this newspaper published predictions last month of several inches of snow overnight and the attendant preparations by officials at the school, city and state levels, most area readers first saw the story after trudging through six inches of nothing to pick up their papers.

We won’t take the credit (or blame) for it, but schools throughout the area were closed for a snow day on Jan. 20, the date of that story’s publication. Alert readers will recall that there were only a few flurries that day, and nothing actually stuck to the ground.

On Tuesday, with the National Weather Service predicting a chance of snow nearing 100 percent, it seemed time once again to dust off that old preparing-for-winter-weather story. Once again, if you were paying very close attention, you may have seen a snowflake or two falling from the cold skies on Wednesday. But there was no “winter storm” of which the area had been warned.


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Perhaps this is what they mean by “the power of the press.” Could it be that by the simple publication of the prediction, the Suffolk News-Herald can hold back the snow?

Would that this newly discovered power had broader implications. “Recession will last years,” we could declare, confident in the knowledge that we were saving the economy. “War rages in Middle East” could be the headline that finally brought peace. “Holland Road traffic to stall” could be the just the treatment for that stopped-up highway.

However, since the return of shag carpeting, we’ve been aware of our inability to predict much of anything. So we’ll use care with our weather predictions, much less those dealing with world peace or Holland Road traffic.