How Inaccurate Can You Be at Work?

How wrong can you be in your job and still have it qualify as acceptable?

As I wake up just outside St. Louis, MO, I am thrilled to hear that we did not get the blizzard conditions that many of you are probably just experiencing farther to the east and north.  For the last two days, St. Louis has been literally held hostage by the threat of “Snowmageddon”.  The weather forecasters all predicted that we would have ice and sleet worse than we’ve seen in years and more snow than has fallen in decades.  Predictions at my house were several inches of ice followed by 1- 2 feet of snow.

The meteorologists told stories and showed pictures of blizzards from years ago.  We heard from people who lamented about how horrible it was going to get.  We watched as the police, sheriffs, transportation department, city and county executives, and many others gathered in the command center to deal with the situation.  They told the viewers to stay off the roads at all costs.  There was absolutely no traffic on any pictures of our metro highways for a full day.

But Snowmageddon did not hit us. At my house, several inches of sleet accumulated.   Other parts of the city had the snow and ice mix which continues to make driving a major challenge, but the 1-2 feet of snow did not happen.

First, I’m happy about that because it would have been horrible on so many levels.  But my question is, at what point do these forecasters need to be held accountable?  I may just be ranting because it’s so early and I’m not thinking clearly.  And, I can accept days when they tell me to grab my umbrella and it doesn’t rain.  But when you tell a whole city to shut down, not work, close all our major grocery and other stores, all our government offices, etc. THAT is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

For me, this is a major blunder.  There should be some consequence or impact on them.  Maybe no bonus, a cut in pay.  I don’t really know.  I just know that a great deal of economic hardship happened in my city yesterday because of a less-than-accurate performance by a handful of people.

Think I’m being too hard?  What say you?  Oh, and if you are north or east of here, tell us how much snow and ice you were hit with where you live.

10 Replies to “How Inaccurate Can You Be at Work?”

  1. This happens constantly in Florida. Forecasters here actually give us weather forecasts as “tropical waves roll off the West Coast of Africa…they could develop into a major hurricane!”

    They rarely do. I think of all jobs out there, weather people must be immune to any accountability. Glad you didn’t get buried!

  2. @Jay- I bet you do get your fair share of inaccurate hurricane predictions! You know, I expect the meteorologists to have some missed. Just so frustrating when you predict such a huge blizzard, using all the technology they have, and it’s a big miss. Whew!

  3. That’s why I stopped watching most Sunday morning news shows. Filled with pundits and “experts” who were dead wrong about a whole host of issues last decade, yet still feel the right to pontificate, without an ounce of shame.

    The frozen tundra of Green Bay was barely hit. A few inches, some heavy winds, but the storm was rather toothless, relatively speaking.

  4. Trish,
    I’m just down the road from you, and looking at 20 inches of snow with drifts up to four feet. So, the words of caution were correct for my neck of the woods. Normally, I agree that we go a bit overboard in predicting Snowmageddon…but in this case, I’m looking at it.

  5. @Anita- Oh, aren’t you more toward Columbia? I feel bad that part of MO was hit so hard. I heard last night that they closed Hwy 70. 20″ of snow is unreal! Stay safe and warm this week!!

  6. The 20″ snow missed St Louis by less than 30 miles. The 1/2″ ice missed us by 20 miles on the other side.
    I will point out though that the people who put these models together never get bonuses and most make less than $50k (GS-7). The highest paid NWS meteorologists are mid range GS-13, making just under $90; but they also have 20-30 years experience and a PhD.
    http://www.opm.gov/oca/07tables/html/RUS.asp

  7. @Brett- Great points Brett. Interesting to see the pay approximations. I guess I’m of the mindset thought that early on I understand the reaction and preparation but as that storm got closer I would have expected much revised predictions. I appreciate you weighing in. Hope where you are that it missed you. 🙂

  8. This one didn’t bother me so much because we dodged a couple of bullets based on the whims of air currents. But it could have been exactly as bad as predicted.

    But it does put me in mind of Louis Black. In one of his bits, he told the story of a snow forecast that was off by two feet.

    “If you were a roofer, and you were off by two feet, you’d still be serving time.” 🙂

  9. @Dwane- I love that bit by Lewis B. So true. I’m sure if we were off like that we’d lose our jobs. “Gee Mr. Employee, I’m sorry that your paycheck was $1,000 off. Oops!” lol

  10. @Matt- You’re so right about all the news shows. I rarely watch because it’s all just speculation and opinion anyway…

Comments are closed.