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Weather or not

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It's a beautiful Saturday, with temperatures to reach the 70s. I've planned a picnic at Jordan Lake. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain. In fact, they're "calling for thunderstorms." In fact, they're "calling for some to be severe." But not today.

We pack food, blankets, chairs, books, puppy, and set off. When we arrive, the wind has picked up, but we innocently unload everything, putting the books on the chairs to hold them down. We place the cooler on the blanket, along with the five-pound puppy and immediately the whole thing is airborne, like a flying carpet, the puppy grinning down at us, ears flapping, tail waving wildly. New game? Cool. We run, and brilliantly catch her on our heads when she hits a downdraft. (OK she's not really flying, but so close that we decide to rename her Toto.)

At this point, tomorrow's rain begins to fall in huge puppy-drowning drops. By the time we make it to the car, everything is soaked and Jordan Lake has risen two feet. The books are soggy, the blanket now weighs 350 pounds and we have to wring out the puppy on the back seat. End of picnic. End of rope: I'm going after the first weather forecaster I see.

Don't get me wrong, I like the weather folks on TV. I really like Greg Fishel, because he has the guts to admit he likes snow. But if any of us were as inaccurate in our jobs as they are, would we still be working? I mean, if you repeatedly told customers that you would have some product for them tomorrow, and they repeatedly showed up and you repeatedly had the wrong thing, heads would roll!

Forecasters around here, knowing the contempt in which many hold them, have started to cover all bases: "Hey everyone! It's a beautiful morning out there, but our weather model (I think her name is Heather) calls for things to turn ugly. We could have some showers later, unless this front moves faster than we expect, which calls for rain in the next 15 minutes to continue throughout the day or for just an hour. They're calling for high temperatures, so wear your shorts, but don't forget your gloves, just in case that snow out west comes calling this way. When--sorry, if--it stops raining, the sun will call for coming out, unless the Doppler went haywire, which would call for golf-ball-sized hail in some areas, and famine and drought in others."

Two hard facts: Wet picnics and wet puppies aren't as much fun as you think; and if you want to know the weather, look out the freakin' window.

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