Whither the Weather?

Yesterday evening, I turned on the local news to learn that Hurricane Ivan is headed straight towards us! Oh no! The animation they used to project its path made it look like Ivan would swallow all of Georgia, and they promised rain of diluvian proportions and winds between 40 and 70 miles per hour. The weatherman had a look in his eyes that seemed to be a cross between lust and fear. As if Ivan is just the big event he’s been waiting his entire career to cover.

I checked out Weather.com last night to get a second opinion–I have little trust for weathermen with seventies porn moustaches–and it said much the same thing: almost 100% chance of rain from Tuesday to Thursday, strong winds and major chaos.

So you can imagine my surprise this morning when I walked out to my car and had to squint to block out the piercing rays of the sun. Another lovely late summer day in Atlanta, without a rain cloud or storm front in sight.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Atlanta doesn’t do well with bad weather. I remember one of my first years here, when the powers-that-be delivered an “ice warning” on a Thursday night. They immediately cancelled school for Friday in most of the districts. Of course, it was sixty degrees and sunny the next day, so the kids got a free day off for nothing. Even funnier was the fact that you couldn’t find toilet paper, bottled water, or cigarettes in any of the local stores, thanks to the panic the warnings brought.

And every time it rains in Atlanta, a large number of drivers insist on slowing down to about 20mph and putting their blinkers on, even if they’re in the far left lane on one of the six-lane highways. I’ve almost rammed my car straight up the rears of several of them, as I proceeded home at a safe but significantly faster speed. Why these people think it’s better to practically stop on the highway than it is to drive in rain is beyond me. And don’t even get me started about the people who park their cars under the overpasses to wait out the storm. Did these people learn to drive in the Sahara Desert, or something? Is a little water that scary?

In my hometown, we used to get what was called “Lake Effect” weather, rolling in off of Lake Michigan. Lake Effect Snow, in double-digit inches; Lake Effect Rain, in huge, wavy sheets. The best was when the Lake Effect Rain was followed by Lake Effect Snow, causing black ice on the roads and driving conditions that would test the skills of seasoned Nascar pros. I wonder what the average Atlantan would do if thrown into that environment. (Probably take out a lot of mailboxes, like my sister did as a teenager.)

The current weather forecast for Atlanta still shows Ivan to be looming. The rain has been pushed back to Wednesday now, but it’s still on the schedule. Now, however, they’re saying the storm may be turning slightly West. Or East. They don’t really know which way, but it does seem to be turning. You’d think the city that calls The Weather Channel home would get more accurate forecasts, but whatever.

Anyway, I feel horrible for all of the people who’ve been beaten down by the continual hurricanes that are striking the coast to the south. I’m not trying to make light of such serious destruction. But I’m getting a little impatient waiting for Ivan to make up his mind about whether or not to take our city on next. And I’m tired of the unreliable and ever-changing weather reports. I need some clarity here. I need to know if I should stock up on Evian and toiletries before there’s a mad rush at the local CVS…

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