Light in the Storm
This is your light in the storm for accurate weather forecasting in the tri-state area

Have you ever wondered why certain weather patterns lock in for weeks on end? Why some winters feature a lot of snow but others not so much? Why there is such low predictability of weather, sometimes even a day in advance? Why there are busy hurricane seasons followed by stretches of virtually no landfalls on the US coast? If oceanic or atmospheric variations take the driver’s seat in terms of pattern evolution? If solar activity, planetary movement, and lunar phases influence surface weather more than we think? Why ice ages last four times longer than interglacial periods? How it’s possible that the Earth can produce an ideal environment for humans considering the two planets on either side of us are fierce, unlivable, wastelands? Why thunderstorms are stronger one day but weaker on another? Why we have very low skill in forecasting the development, intensification, and propagation of thunderstorms? Why some El Nino and La Nina events are stronger/weaker than others? Have you ever wondered if we’ll fully understand meteorology and predict weather with 100% accuracy?

 

There are more questions than answers in meteorology. Although we’ve come a long way from where we were several decades ago, with advances in satellite, radar, computer models, and other expensive technology, there’s still a ton we don’t understand, and consequently, directly affect our ability to produce accurate weather forecasts more than a week or two in advance (often less).

 

Have you ever wondered about the mysteries of life itself? Why am I here? How did I get here? Where did I come from? What is my purpose here? How long will I be alive? Where am I going after I die? These are questions we often don’t take time to stop and think about. Who is God? Where did he come from? What does he want with me? Why does he allow so much evil to occur in this world? Is he not strong enough to rid us of the evil? Or does he not want to? If there was a God, he would surely eliminate the misery and tragedy that abounds on a daily basis, right? What will happen to me if I don’t believe in God? If there is a God and I do believe in him, what will happen to me? Will I go to Hell if I sin? To Heaven if I’m good? What about Jesus? Is he God, and if so, is the only way to Heaven through him? Why did he have to die for our sins? Couldn’t God have created a world without sin? Why is there sin in the first place? Does God want us to sin, since we have this ability? Why do some people die so early and unfairly when others live a long life? Why do bad things happen to good people? It seems like good things happen to bad people, or do they?

 

Like meteorology, there are many questions. We attempt to answer these questions through Biblical interpretation, prayer, and worship, just like with meteorology, we employ computer models, radar, satellite data, and our own limited understanding to decode the meaning of certain things. As a Catholic in the Christian faith, the Bible tells me that we are here to love and serve God, and that wouldn’t be possible without evil in the world. This is because it’s impossible to  love God, or one another for that matter, without freedom. God grants us free will, the ability to love, but also to make decisions as we please. And with this comes the temptation of choosing the wrong path, the wrong road, the wrong decision, and thus evil. You can’t force or tell someone to love you; it’s worthless. The freedom to express your love is much different, however. God does not want evil to occur on earth, rather, he permits its occurrence so that we utilize our free will to make the good decisions, namely to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, believing, loving, and serving. Where we go after we die is dependent upon what we believe. Is there definitely a Hell? Is there definitely a Heaven? Belief is one thing, but utter certainty quite another entirely. Was the healing of your best friend in a major car accident a coincidence or a miracle, performed with the help of God? We can believe it’s the former or the latter, but we’ll never know for sure.  The mystery behind meteorology and the mystery behind theology will remain for as long as we live. Our technology will get more advanced as years go by, so we’ll be able to see thunderstorms, hurricanes, etc more clearly. High tech computer modelling may enable us to make some progress in medium to long range forecasting, but the key word there is progress. 100% accuracy or understanding will never be reached. Our atmosphere is simply too complex, and the intricate interactions that take place on a molecular, sub-atomic, microscopic level are almost impossible to grasp fully. The chaos of the atmosphere is so great and there are infinite possibilities of pattern progression, ridge/trough orientation, atmosphere/ocean/solar relationships, etc. Some element of uncertainty and mystery will remain intact as generations come and go, hence the term “inexact science.”

 

Both the study of meteorology and theology employ a lot of belief, assumptions, guessing, and a mixture of knowledge/understanding and personal experience as well. One may be more apt to believe in God based on personal experience, i.e., spiritual awareness, signs you may believe are directly toward you from God, or even visions of lost loved ones. In the same breath, you may be apt to forecast a certain type of weather based on personal experience. For example, during a July Northeastern  potential severe weather outbreak in NYC, a forecaster who’s lived there all his life would look at the map and say: “Hmm, strong southerly winds off the Atlantic with an approaching cold front / severe thunderstorms to the west. Marine influenced, stable air should cut off the inflow of convection once it moves into NJ, thereby limiting the threat to weak storms/rain and no severe weather.” Whereas a forecaster from the mid-west may see the same set-up and forecast severe thunderstorms into NYC, due to the lack of knowledge of southerly winds and significant marine influence. Personal experience is important in life, especially with theology and meteorology.

 

Weather forecasting, like a relationship with God, can be a very humbling experience.  God often humbles us as we are presented with obstacles in life that challenge our faith, only to make it stronger. In meteorology, sometimes we nail a long range outlook or get on a hot streak of forecasting, and acquire feelings of invincibility and entitlement, like there’s nothing that can stop us. However, shortly thereafter, we’ll always encounter a “bust” which will confirm that we do not have have control over the weather. We are constantly forced to stay grounded as weather, like God, works in mysterious ways, beyond our scope of intelligence, such that we are not able to fully grasp it or gain power over it. In life we may have a series of remarkable successes, fooling us into thinking we’re on top of the world, and not even God can stop us. Pride is not tolerated by God nor is it possible to exist as a weather forecaster. The fact of the matter is, one’s confidence may be built up over a period of time, but it’s shot down with much more haste. Humility is a virtue, and being a forecaster certainly demands it.

 

I bet you didnt realize theology and meteorology had so many similarities? Well, everything is interconnected in meteorology, whether is be oceanic, atmospheric, or solar patterns. And everything is connected in life as well, although it may not seem like it at times. The puzzle pieces are in our hands, it’s just a matter of putting them together properly to form an accurate picture. The problem is there are so many different pieces to the puzzle, some that we know essentially nothing about, thus it’s virtually impossible to attain 100% certainty in either discipline.


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