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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 17, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Seattle snow

Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

Downtown Seattle is caught in a deep freeze, but snow thus far has mostly stayed in the mountains — witness the snow-dusted Olympics.

Develop some intuition

Editor, The Times:

On Monday, June 5, 1944, Capt. J.M. Stagg, head of the meteorological committee for the D-Day invasion at Normandy, told Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower that he would have a two-day window in which to land troops in German-occupied France. Stagg performed this miracle of weather prediction without the aid of satellites, weather buoys or Doppler radar. He did so with pencil, paper, maps, barometers and intuition [“Snow on its way; commute may be messy,” News, Dec. 17].

If, in 1944, the Allied Invasion Force could make the greatest weather-based decision of the modern era using such primitive predicting methods, then why can’t all of the combined technology of the National Weather Service and local broadcast meteorologists determine whether or not it’s going to snow in Seattle with any confidence?

Can you imagine if Stagg had been changing his predictions every five hours before D-Day?

Now consider all of the wasted resources keeping hundreds of road crews on standby overnight in Seattle/King County awaiting the Wednesday-morning storm that never arrived.

Humbug.

Had this current crop of well-meaning scientists been advising Eisenhower, WWII would have ending sometime around the start of the Korean War.

The Puget Sound Convergence Zone is not an excuse for botched predications. The British Isles have their own anomalies, the most frustrating being the “Icelandic Low,” which wreaks havoc on prediction models given that the jet stream will frequently split in two over the Channel.

The difference between Stagg and the current NWS can be summed up in one word: intuition.

— Craig Parsley, Seattle

How convenient

Kudos to the Seattle Public Schools for launching its new school-messenger auto-call system. Many of us got too many calls and calls too early on Dec. 15, the initial day of the service.

However that slight inconvenience is outweighed by the district’s effort to develop an emergency-information system.

I can figure out if school is late or closed due to weather in the morning before I go to work. In the midst of my workday it is reassuring to know that I will be informed about a school emergency.

All you whiners give the district a break; they are looking out for you too.

— Barbara Bender, Seattle

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