Week 15: The Plight of the Weather Forecaster

So it rained a lot. Five inches and counting--quite a surprise! Rain hasn't gotten in the way of the vegetables much this season (at least on your end of things), but this week you might want to wash things more carefully to avoid a crunchy surprise. Spinach, in particular, is known for acquiring grit after rain. The carrots might require some individual attention as well, though they really do look much better than when they came out of the mud.

You might think that farmers are in tune with the weather, but really we are in tune with the weather forecasters. Sure, I can guess whether the afternoon thunderstorm will pass by or hit square on, but the more important skill lies in guessing the accuracy of the predicted weather. We pay attention to WeatherUnderground for hourly detail, Weather.com for sensational hype, and NOAA for the conservative guesses of the meteorology nerds. By knowing what sources are good for what purposes, we hope to place smart bets on when to schedule the critical work.

This season year, however, has been endlessly difficult for forecasters and farmers alike. Everybody has done an unusually poor job at guessing the weather. Nearly every time there was a small chance of some minor sprinkle, we ended up with a serious rain. And so I guess I should have known that this week's uncertain chance of a couple inches was actually forewarning a 100% chance of at least half a foot of rain.

And all this before Hurricane Joaquin! Which, depending on what model you look at, will head...just about anywhere. My guess is for no hurricane here. But you can bet I'm ready to go batten the hatches if anything changes.