Jan. 27, 2015 will be known as the day New Jersey came to a standstill for a blizzard that never happened…at least not here in New Jersey and most of New York City. Parts of New England got hit with over two feet of snow. In Boston our son in law had drifts of snow completely covering his car. Winter Storm Juno was predicted by some weather forecasters to be the “Storm of The Century” while others described it as “potentially historic.” In a series of wall to wall warnings last weekend, the weather service promised feet of snow, not inches. As a result New York and New Jersey issued states of emergencies. Travel on the roads were prohibited for a period of time; public transportation was shut down, schools closed, people stayed home from work, the National Guard was called in, tons of salt were ordered, heavy duty snow removal equipment was put in place and the entire region came to a stand still… For a few inches of snow.
I knew something was up when we canceled our trip into Queens on Monday morning because of the pending forecast yet there was minimal snow on the ground. The roads were clear all day long. But the news reporters kept hyping up the coming blizzard. So we canceled our Emotionally Healthy Class for Tuesday night, believing we would be digging out of 30 inches of snow. As I went to bed on Monday night there was no sign of snow. I turned on the news at around 11:30 p.m. and still, the newscasters were warning of potential disaster. But they were doing their forecast from outside (I don’t know why they feel compelled to stand outside to deliver the forecast) and the roads were clear with just a light dusting coming down. You could see they wanted to believe so much that the storm was coming. I woke up on Tuesday and….no blizzard. Inches of snow, not feet. I was bummed. And angry. And frustrated. And I blamed the forecasters…for a terrible prediction and for refusing to give in to the obvious…the blizzard was not coming!
They say the storm moved its direction further east. And the air pressure sunk. Interestingly, the National Weather Forecast stuck with the European Model (which accurately, predicted Hurricane Sandy) rather than their own Global Forecast System, which was predicting snowfalls closer to what we actually experienced.
So they got it wrong. Predictions are not an exact science. But better to predict the worst and get the best than to predict the best conditions (or minimize the severity) and get the worst.
They made a mistake.
It wasn’t their first one. It won’t be their last one..
I doubt they did it on purpose or got some kind of kick out of fooling us.
They messed up.
But they did so on the side of caution rather than on the side of recklessness.
Heads don’t need to roll… jobs don’t need to be lost.
It occurs to me that I make my share of mistakes, most of them not so public and open to such second guessing or ridicule. I am reminded that even with all the technology we have at our disposal, with all the high tech equipment we have, that we are at our core, human. Human with our own faults, shortcomings and failures. And yes, I fail, I make mistakes and I mess up. My failures may not cause schools to close or shut down bridges and tunnels. But they can have a profound effect on the people I love and care about. And I can be as stubborn as those forecasters, not wanting to admit that there are times I just might be wrong. So I hear God telling me: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42) and “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2) and “Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and
I hate when God speaks to me like that.