August 5, 1998 transcript #: 245-3
Subject(s): Moscow, forecasters
Title: FIRING THE WEATHERMAN
Have you ever wished you could fire the weatherman? I have and Im a weatherman and Im also Dave Thurlow and this is The Weather Notebook.
We all expect - sometimes more than we should - that weather forecasts are going to pretty much hit the nail on the head. So when they dont, our first inclination is to get mad at someone. And who else but the hapless old weather forecaster who missed that band of rain.
Well in Moscow recently, the mayor did something we've all wanted to do at one time or another He fired the weatherman. In fact, a few months ago he fired the entire national weather service. Yury Luzhkov said he was sick of inaccurate forecasts after the weather service missed a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow on Moscow last winter. It wasn't the first time the weather service messed up. The winter of 1988 was predicted to be one of the coldest on record. That sent everyone scurrying to buy winter coats. Its pretty cold over there in Moscow. When it turned out to be a lot milder than predicted, the suspicious Muscovites blamed "the weather Mafia" They were accused of spreading false weather forecasts to encourage winter coat sales.
But it wasn't the weather Mafia - it was the weather service. And now they're being made to pay for years of inaccurate forecasting. Mayor Luzhkov says he's going to create his own weather forecasting service, just for the city of Moscow. ..and this one, he claims, won't make the same kind of expensive mistakes. The mayor says mistaken snowfall forecasts cost hundreds of rubles.
So, maybe the new service will offer some comfort - or at least a bigger paycheck - to the meteorologists who work for the present national weather service. They make the equivalent of about $33 a month. At that rate, even the most experienced forecaster might be tempted to..ah overlook a few storms.
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