This newspaper, as do all our brethren, knows about the need to get it correct.
If we handle 99 out of 100 obituaries perfectly, then we have managed to upset one grieving family; if we deliver 99.9 percent of the papers to subscribers flawlessly and on time, then we have angered a dozen people.
The threshold for meteorologists is similar — and with potentially much higher stakes. A badly missed forecast, especially one that minimizes a weather threat, can put people at risk.
Meteorologists, like referees, are best when unnoticed. But on this day, we think they deserve a shout-out in recognition of their forecast of Winter Storm Leon and how it would affect this region. Let’s just say, that got it precisely right.
Although the time-line did shift somewhat, the meteorologists were in harmony from the beginning, saying this was going to be mostly a snow event locally, and the odds were small that Bladen County would be turned into an icebox and that power outages would follow as trees and limbs came tumbling down. At about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, we are sure there were plenty of folks questioning the accuracy of that forecast.
But right on que, at about midnight, the freezing rain and sleet morphed into snow, and it continued for most of the night, just as predicted, and we awakened Wednesday to a pretty picture that was delivered without much of the pain.
The Big Thaw now is well behind us, and things have returned to what we consider a normal southern winter.
We Southerners are often ridiculed by our friends up North who laugh at our overreaction when snow is in our forecast, but Leon in 2014 will be remembered locally for how easily it passed, and for not much else. Part of that is because we prepared well, and that includes law enforcement, emergency personnel, government officials, and education officials who made the right calls.
It helped that they had a forecast that proved true.