Blizzard of 2016: We owe Philly’s weathercasters an apology (and you might too)

When last week started with a bold prediction — 17.9 inches of snow! — we were preparing, all right. We were ready for you to eat crow. But now it’s our turn.

Sheena Parveen and a curious weather pattern over Cape May

Sheena Parveen and a curious weather pattern over Cape May

Via @chrismucci on Twitter
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We’re sorry.

We’ve gotten used to the cycle of hype about upcoming weather, forecast after forecast of doom and gloom, and city officials in absurdly over-telegraphed winter gear… only to wake up with bone-dry streets the next day.

And we’ve been seduced by all those times you told us mass quantities of snow, ice or sleet were going to fall, only to walk things back a few days later. Heck, you’ve even apologized for a few of those yourself.

So when last week started with a bold prediction — 17.9 inches of snow! — we were preparing, all right. We were ready for you to eat crow. Heck, we at Billy Penn set up a spreadsheet to keep you honest, and encouraged our users to flag what we thought were exaggerated forecasts.

And then the storm came, and it was everything you’d said it would be — and more. The fourth-largest in the city’s history, in fact, stranding athletic teams on the Turnpike and shutting down pretty much everything on four wheels for 24 hours or more. (Although big ups to SEPTA for keeping the Broad Street and Market Frankford lines running — take that, Washington, DC.)

And all of a sudden it’s us eating the crow.

Now, don’t get us wrong. There’s a lot of stuff our TV stations do that’s, well, silly. Strange. And there are times when Philadephians get the last laugh — though we should probably draw the line at throwing snowballs at reporters who are just doing their jobs.

We’re heading into a Monday where schools are closed, trash and recycling won’t be collected, and transit will be frustrating. But you’ll keep an eye on the forecast, with probably less mistrust than this time last week.

So, in closing… We’re sorry.

Next time you call for insane weather five days in advance, we’ll be less inclined to throw snark and doubt your way.

Maybe.

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Editor


Chris Krewson is the executive director of LION Publishers, a national nonprofit association that serves local journalism entrepreneurs build sustainable news organizations, and the founding editor of Billy Penn. He lives in Havertown.