Weather Forecasts

Over my lifetime, weather forecasts have, in general, reached the point where they are accurate enough that they actually can be useful – except all too often in Cedar City, Utah, which is where we live.

On Monday morning, the weather forecasts from the major networks said that the snowstorm that had hit northern Utah was moving out to the east and that no storms were forecast in southwest Utah for the next several days. Roughly, an hour passed before it began snowing. Four hours later, it was still snowing, and there were at least three inches of snow on the ground. The snow flurries that followed lasted until dark.

This was hardly an isolated occurrence.

Now, I don’t blame the forecasters. Cedar City is a college town of roughly 40,000 people and is scarcely a population center or a media market on which forecasters might focus more expertise. There’s also the fact that its geographical location makes accurate forecasting a bitch. The town is located twenty miles north of Black Ridge, and the south side of Black Ridge drops almost 3,000 feet in roughly four miles, and another 1,000 feet over the next twenty. The east side of town literally climbs partway up red hills and cliffs that are the lower part of mountains that rise another 4,000 feet.

Cedar City is also known for its winds – strong and frequent. There’s a local saying about the town – that the Mormon settlers only stopped here until the wind died down, only to discover it never did. I’ve personally seen, and weathered, winds here that ripped the shingles off houses, and in one case peeled the vinyl siding right off the west side of a dwelling. We’re not talking tornadoes or hurricanes, just wind, Cedar City style.

And the weather can be freakishly weird – like the fifteen inches of snow we got on Mother’s Day weekend six years ago – incidentally also unforecast. We’ve often gotten a foot of snow in early September, and then sweltered through 80 degree weather for a month afterward.

And that’s why, while forecasts are useful most of the time, here in Cedar City, you still have to be wary about the weather.

3 thoughts on “Weather Forecasts”

  1. Louran says:

    Weather is why living in space would be BORING!.

    1. Tom says:

      Everything in the universe has “confidence limits”. Weather forecasting has very wide confidence limits and Cedar City sounds as if it is at one extreme of the probability spectrum of weather forecasting.

      An Old Man cave in space can be interesting continuously …

      100 mile orbit around earth watching the weather without the sensory experience would be good.

      Between Saturn and Jupiter in the solar system would be exciting.

      Between the galaxies would be a man cave for “real” hermits!

      … as long as one has the internet with free access for ever.

  2. Lourain says:

    Nope. I would rather live someplace where I can experience a thunderstorm moving through. (And I do!)

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