I’ve always heard that if you don’t like the weather in Missouri today, just stick around, and it will change tomorrow. I can remember the day when weather forecasting was simple. Tomorrow, it would either be sunny or cloudy. Well, maybe partly cloudy, rain or snow. Nothing more, except maybe the predicted temperature.

I’ve always heard that if you don’t like the weather in Missouri today, just stick around, and it will change tomorrow. I can remember the day when weather forecasting was simple. Tomorrow, it would either be sunny or cloudy. Well, maybe partly cloudy, rain or snow. Nothing more, except maybe the predicted temperature.


No one would hazard to make a five-day forecast. After all they’re hardly ever right. Gee, according to my friend, meteorologist Gary Amble, “It’s almost impossible in Missouri to predict the weather much beyond 18 hours, even with all of the modern technology we have to rely on.”


Today, the forecasters speak of the wind-chill index, wind-chill warnings, and even wind-chill advisories. What’s the difference between heavy snow warnings, blizzard warnings, and sleet and ice storm warnings? With winter storm watches and winter storm warnings, what’s a fellow to do. It’s enough to make you yearn for spring.


Forecasters have it easy. Maybe we should all just go into meteorology. It’s probably the only profession in the world where a guy can get paid for being wrong most of the time.


In some parts of the country the weather is very predictable. Honestly, all you need do is look at the calendar to pretty well know what the weather is going to be on any given day of the year, but not here in Missouri! We have warm, moist air moving up from the Gulf Coast, hot, dry air moving in from the Southwest. Then we have crisp, dry air spilling over the tops of the Colorado mountains heading down toward us, bone-chilling wet weather scooting in from the Pacific Northwest and frigid Arctic air masses roaring down out of Canada on any given winter day. They all come together in a big tug of war over the top of us to see which one can dominate. It’s sort of like playing “king of the mountain.”


On top of that we are blessed with the mighty Missouri River on our doorstep. The Big Muddy is a large, swiftly moving mass of water. It is normally cooler than the surface temperature since it is coming our way from further up north.


At Kansas City it makes a sharp turn and heads east across the state. The river simply throws a shaft of air straight up the sky, acting like a wall for the incoming weather systems. A good strong approaching southwestern storm system doesn’t know which way to go, up the river in Kansas toward Nebraska, or track easterly along the southern edge of the river. The same holds true for the silly air masses coming down from the north. The incoming weather generally moves on through fairly predictably unless we happen to get caught on the backside of a low pressure system with counter clockwise winds that deals us easterly winds, and then anything can happen, and generally does.


I guess we shouldn’t knock the TV weather guys, but they have earned all the criticism we can dish out to them. Makes you wonder who we picked on before they came along. I guess it would have to be the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It has been predicting the weather for more than 200 years.


They believe the weather goes in cycles and their forecasting is the result of many years of actual observance and shows what sort of weather will follow the moon’s entrance into any of its quarters. Robert B. Thomas established the Old Farmer’s Almanac back in 1792, before El Nino was discovered.


In fact, it is North America’s oldest continuously published periodical.