On the Front Lines | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On the Front Lines

A look at Pittsburgh weather

So Don Schwenneker's on WTAE's 6 o'clock news last week, predicting, "You shouldn't have to shovel any of the snow that we see tonight." And his colleague Scott Baker asks, "You promise?"

"Yeah," says Schwenneker, with a pained look.

"You know what?" Sally Wiggin asks the audience. "If it falls, he'll come and shovel it for you."

For some reason, we always hold the weather guy accountable for what he reports. By contrast, no one's ever asked Sally Wiggin to don a haz-mat suit and start cleaning up the nitric acid when a train derails. No one expects Patrice King Brown to secure a crime scene.

Pittsburghers personalize the weather. We blame it, and the people who forecast it, for everything -- from why we can't attract new businesses to why we can't get laid. Every night we obsess over meteorological data on TV we don't understand, and we still forget our umbrellas the next day.

But we never ask the big questions, like: Is the weather here really that bad? Is Predictor really better than "Futurecast"? Who comes up with this stuff anyway? And why did my school district call a two-hour snow delay when there is no actual snow on the ground?

The answer to all these questions, and more, lies in the pages ahead. Now if you'll excuse us, Schwenneker's at our front door with the shovel, asking for his tip.

Hit-and-myth Weather
Sunny, with a Chance of TV: WTAE's Meteorological School Visit
Long-Range Forecast
Snow Job

Baby, it's cold outside

Radar Love