A white Christmas for Santa?
Dateline: North Pole, Santa's Workshop
It's just over two weeks before Christmas. Santa and his elves are working anxiously 24/7 to prepare for timely delivery of Christmas gifts by Santa on his sleigh pulled by a team of flying reindeer led, of course, by red-nosed Rudolf.
Off in the corner is Dr. Doc, on leave from Snowy White's cadre of "little people," perusing all the different factors that must come together for a white Christmas. Doc is known as the natural leader of the "little people" and the one usually responsible for deciding any course of action that needs quick resolution. But, right now, Doc is in a complete quandary as to how to ensure a white Christmas in the Washington, D.C. metro area as Santa insists. Santa, spoiled from last December's Snowpocalypse, insists upon at least a SnoCalypso, a "big one" with intense cold during the week or so leading up to Christmas Eve.
(Note: According to LikiWeaks, one of Santa's elves claims Santa spends much of the post-Christmas portion of winter in Washington, out of uniform and without a beard. Like so many readers of his favorite weather blog, the Beltway Weather Group (BWG), he is an ardent snow lover. On his instructions, Doc is working on a secret plan, code name Snolady-gaga-gon, to ensure another Snowmaggedon-like the winter in the D.C. area.)
Unlike last winter's El Nino, Doc is confronted with La Nina conditions, which are much less favorable for storm development, track and moisture supply necessary for significant snowfall over the mid-Atlantic. The usual clues from weather folklore, such as fuzzy caterpillars and gathering of nuts by squirrels, offer no solace. Nor does the official National Ocean & Air Association (NOAA) winter outlook or that from his boss's ole reliable, BWG, provide much hope. Both agree the odds are strongly stacked against anything close to the record snowfall last winter.
What to do? In desperation, Doc calls upon his Weather Wizard, who is still on a high from his recent notoriety, even if a subject of mockery, in the practice of weather sorcery. The wizard assures him there is no need to worry. All it will take (for an unspecified price, of course) is a wave of his magic wand to evoke just the right ingredients, including a negative North Atlantic Oscillation, to assure cold enough air and a well-timed SnoCalypso for a white Christmas (and Snolady-gaga-gon on a longer time horizon).
As a hedge on the Weather Wizard's optimism, Doc consults PreciseWeather's foremost long-range weather guru, Joey Fearless. Joey is often maligned as over-hyping forecasts and tending to cry "big one" more often than proves warranted after the fact. Sure, he did hit a home run as the first to forecast - from his high perch somewhere in Weathernut, PA - that last winter would be the snowiest in over five years in the Washington area. Never mind that anyone who goes into every winter calling for a "snow bomb" capable of paralyzing the I-95 corridor is bound to hit pay dirt eventually. Of course, when a charlatan like Joey is right on, he'll never let you forget it. If the forecast busts, do not expect so much as a tweet.
None of this seems to deter Dr. Doc from being an unabashed believer in Joey's long-range forecasting prowess. Not surprisingly, his spirits rise when he learns that Joey is highlighting the potential for a "blockbuster" snowstorm around a week before Christmas, with as much as a foot of snow from D.C. to Boston. (One wonders whether Doc is confusing long-range forecaster with the Lone Ranger coming to the rescue with just what he wants to hear).
As it turns out, Doc is really not as dumb as it appears. Deep down inside, he knows reality dictates that at best, the prediction of a "blockbuster" so far in advance must be an ultra-low confidence forecast, regardless of the ultra hype attached to it. However, he says to himself, why voice concerns that might undermine wishful thinking of a white Christmas? After all, if it is a white Christmas, his reservations about long-range forecasts would be discarded while Joey vociferously claims all the credit for success. And if the snow doesn't materialize, then Joey's silence would leave him accountable for Santa's disappointment. But that doesn't really concern Doc, for he knows that Santa being Santa never holds a grudge, and that he'll be back next year helping out in Santa's workshop again.
And, besides, as all children in snow-denied areas know, Santa's flying reindeer don't really need snow on the ground to deliver those Christmas goodies.
| December 8, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories: Humor, Latest, Tracton
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