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Like em' or not, weather forecasters deserve credit

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

Jeffs Col ImpressionsHere is a shout out to the people most people want to shout curses at.
The weather forecasters.
People get mad at these men and women when they give forecasts for bad weather. People get mad at them for being wrong. People say they don’t know what they are talking about.
Yet, we all go back to these meteorological mavens to find out what it’s going to do tomorrow night or next weekend.
Why?
Because they are usually more right than wrong.
It’s been a crazy spring in our area – crazier than usual.
One day, we are in shorts and sweating and the next day is sweatshirt weather. Teeth can be heard chattering in late June for goodness sake. How can you get a handle on that?
We’ve had thunder storm warnings, hail warnings, flood warnings, tornado warnings andDR-Page-3-Coghlan-with-JV-COLChris Coghlan played six straight games with the Cubs before visiting kids at Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn and surprisingly became baseball’s Iron Man with 128 straight games in June. Photo by Jeff Vorva. just about every other warning short of “Careful with that axe, Eugene.”
So far, our area hasn’t suffered much.
Coal City, however, was ravaged June 22 by a tornado that is being called the worst one in the area since Plainfield’s 1990 disaster. Thanks to all of the early weather warnings and sirens going off there were thankfully no deaths.
We can give the forecasters a little credit for that, can’t we?
I’ve heard the argument “Geez, they have millions of dollars of equipment and radar – why can’t they get it right?’’
My answer to that is that even the radar isn’t infallible.
Once I was covering a baseball game in Miami and it was delayed by a huge rainstorm. I checked the radar to see how long this bad boy was going to last and the radar showed nothing! My computer said it was sunny. A look out the window showed otherwise.
I equate predicting weather with doing all the research in the world but in the end, it’s like putting a playing card on the table and guessing if it’s an odd number, even number, picture card or joker.
Speaking of jokes, I once heard this one, and it sums up forecasters pretty well: The most honest answer to “What’s the weather going to be?” is “I don’t know.’’

This rally stunk
The biggest event in the Chicago area in June was the Blackhawks celebration June 18 through the streets of downtown and Soldier Field.
Were there millions of people or hundreds of thousands? Believe what you want, but there were a lot.
I’m a little too old for that stuff. During the Bulls run, I was assigned to cover the rally of their fourth NBA championship at Grant Park. I was actually paid to be there, so I shouldn’t whine.
But I’ll whine.
I was told I would be in the media area and I thought that would be great. I would be up close to the action. I didn’t think I would be on the stage, but I thought I would be close to it.
Naah.
We were an afterthought so far back that we couldn’t see or hear the players very well. Someone would say something that was funny and thousands would laugh and we had no idea what they were saying.
While I couldn’t see or hear very well, I could smell just fine. They put us next so some police horses and one of them must have had a really bad meal the night before.
It was really a horse(bleep) assignment in more ways than one.

Professor Fife and giraffes
On a smaller, bigger scale, I was sad I had to miss World Giraffe Day at Brookfield Zoo in June.
Ever since I was a kid, the giraffe has been my favorite animal at the zoo. A couple of times I was able to feed a giraffe and their slimy purple tongue are kind of gross but I still like them. My family gave me a Father’s Day card with a giraffe on it a few weeks ago.
So I missed an opportunity to join Potoka, a Brookfield Zoo giraffe, to celebrate his second birthday. I was denied the chance to party with him and learn about how these tall animals’ status is threatened and how to protect them and their environment.
Potoka was given a special birthday cake made from his usual diet of fruits and vegetables and guests sang “Happy Birthday” to him.   
I doubt in any of the informational presentations of giraffes, the zoo will have any theories from Barney Fife.
The fictional deputy on the “Andy Griffith Show’’ was trying to soothe young Opie Taylor’s fears about a pack of dogs who were out in the rain. Professor Fife said that dogs look after each other. Not so with giraffes.
“Now if they was giraffes they’d have been hit [by lightning] by now, but dogs are short and they take care of their own. Giraffes don’t. No, giraffes don’t at all. Boy, giraffes are selfish, just run around looking out for No. 1.’’

I am Iron Man!
Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan visited sick kids in at Advocate Children’s Hospital Oak Lawn last Aug. 29 and then went to Wrigley Field to go to work.
He didn’t start that night but he managed to sneak in a pinch-hitting appearance after that game he had played seven games in a row for the North Siders.
Who knew on June 18, his 30th birthday, he would become baseball’s Iron Man?
OK, he would have a long way to go before catching Cal Ripken’s seemingly impossible streak of 2,632 consecutive games streak, but on that night, he played his 128th straight game while Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman had a 234-game streak halted because of a wrist injury and Seattle’s Kyle Seager had a 192-game streak snapped because he fell ill.
Coghlan was next on the list and moved up to the front of the line.
See, good things can happen to you when you come to one of our hospitals and hang out with the kids.