There are weather forecasters on television throughout the country that do a great job keeping you safe in severe storms and bringing you your nightly or morning forecast without ever taking a college meteorology course.
For many years, I was one of those people. I started my career in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in 1996, as a weatherman and started my quest to become a certified “meteorologist” in the fall of 2003 through the distant learning program at Mississippi State University. In 2005, I earned my broadcast “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association and in the fall of 2006, I officially became a “meteorologist”, having passed 17 classes hand-picked by the American Meteorological Society.
And, there are people who should not be making forecasts or trying to connect the dots of a natural disaster or weather event and why it happened. This is one of those people.
Pat Robertson, of the “700 Club” television ministries, has a long history of making really bad forecasts.
When Hurricane Gloria battered the East Coast of the United States and threatened Robertson’s Virginia Beach, Virginia, television headquarters, he probably thought that his prayers sent the storm out to sea. However, from a meteorological standpoint, storms usually veer off to the north-northeast after they make landfall or a near-landfall.
He probably forgot to pray for the rest of the East Coast where there were eight fatalities and $1.94 billion in damage (in today’s money).
But, more than a decade later, he was still earning big bucks preaching religion and he was still working on his forecasting.
In 1998, he sent out this warning to Orlando, Florida, because of its “Gay Days” at Walt Disney World that began in 1991, “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.”
No hurricanes hit Orlando during the 1998 “Gay Days”. However, the remnants of Hurricane Mitch did hit southwestern Florida in early November as the weakened storm moved out of the Gulf of Mexico. False alarm!
And, in late December 2010, Christmas travel around the country was disrupted by this winter storm on the East Coast. Here’s a satellite image of the storm and a picture of what it dumped on the Northeast.
Of that storm, Robertson missed the mark! In his explanation, he didn’t mention that the developing low pressure system brought heavy snow to Alabama and a “White Christmas” to the Deep South or that once the low moved out over the Atlantic Ocean, it strengthened into an intense storm with a barometric pressure of 964 millibars, which is what you see in hurricanes.
He didn’t explain how the storm caused 20″ of snow in Central Park and across other locations because of the collision of warm, moist ocean air and the cold Arctic air begin pulled in on the back side of the winter storm.
Here’s his explanation: “Because of the bad road conditions the Almighty has made, any gay activities that people were planning on doing will have to be postponed by a day or two.” He also said that God shut down all the big airports in New York “so that people who were hoping to fly to do something of a gay nature would have to take a train or a bus, so it might be days before the gay thing they were going to do could occur.”
The weather forecasting wonder/natural disaster prognosticator has also blamed gays for earthquakes in southern California and famine in East Africa.
So, with all of his past successes and failures in forecasting and all of the blame he’s placed on the “gays”, why is he so quiet today? Is he not watching the Tropics?
Here is the forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Isaac is located near the Lesser Antilles with sustained winds of 45 miles-per-hour. This storm is expected to intensify into a hurricane tomorrow as it nears Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republican and Haiti Friday and Saturday, Cuba on Sunday, and Florida Monday.
This means that the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, that begins next Monday could be threatened by Hurricane Isaac! Here is the headline from “USA Today”:
“Isaac could threaten GOP convention in Tampa”
So, why hasn’t Robertson sounded his alarm? Oh, that’s right. It’s the Republican convention and we know how many of them feel about gay people. They’ve made that very clear and you don’t need a satellite or radar to see that.