Letters to the Editor

Nothing wrong with weather forecasters 'crying wolf'

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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Dear Editor,Even though I'm no weatherman by profession, nor a lawyer, I've decided to represent the meteorologists in the court of public opinion.

The Aesop fable The boy who cried wolf would've been interpreted differently if the shepherd boy wasn't lying on the first two occasion, the story reads:

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and shouted, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!” The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces. They went grumbling back down the hill. To his naughty delight, he did it again.

Later, when he saw a real wolf prowling about his flock. He cried out as loudly, “Wolf! Wolf!” But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't come. At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn't returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village. Putting his arm around the youth, he said: “Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!”

The shepherd boy is like the meteorologists. The sheep would be us the people, while the angry villagers would be the upset folks whose business or regular activities was halted for nothing. And the wolf is the weather in this story.

Are people actually calling meteorologists liars for getting something wrong? Even The Weather Channel, with all the technology in the US, gets criticised. Weather is so unpredictable; it's hard to get it accurately all the time.

The only thing I blame the meteorologists here in Jamaica for is them bowing to the naysayers by being reactive instead of being proactive. They were proactive with Hurricane Matthew. It never devastated Jamaica and they got a lot of cussing, even by me, until I saw what it did to Haiti and Cuba. Two weekends ago they decided to be proactive again, but we never saw a lot of rain. They got a lot of cussing. They decided to temper their warning again this Monday. Now we are all seeing what happened over 24 hours of non-stop rain.

The boy crying wolf was wasting time; not the meteorologists.

Everyone believes in a trusted source, even if it gets it wrong once in a while.

Teddylee Gray

Ocho Rios, St Ann

teddylee.gray@gmail.com

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