The Unconventional Convention–A ‘Curse’ Put to Rest

January 23, 2011 · 0 comments

An umbrella at the fountain.

Prepared for normal weather, precipitating contrary weather: all in a week's work for unconventional AMS meeting attendees.

Like snowflakes blowing in the winds of a blizzard, an ugly rumor had swirled through AMS Annual Meetings past. People…meteorologists, no less (you know who you are!), began saying that the convergence of so many meteorologists each year led to “bad” and sometimes “dangerous” weather in the host city.

The evidence was accumulating: flooding rain, mudslides, and severe storms in 2005 in perpetually sunny San Diego; crippling ice storms in 1978 and 2007 during the only two AMS visits to San Antonio; tornadoes in 1993 near Anaheim, California, while AMS huddled at Disneyland; and Mardi Gras parade in blasting winds and shivering chill during the 2006 Annual in New Orleans. We do not care to cite more.

On Saturday, however, with sunshine sneaking into the late January Seattle forecast, it seemed to be the right time to dispel this myth. Following the unremarkable weather a year ago in Atlanta, this week’s forecast is poised to further unstack the evidence against our maligned meteorological influences. The familiar light rain set to kick off the new week is supposed to gradually end and, as clouds thin and break up, full-fledged sunshine is expected beginning Tuesday and lasting the rest of the week. High temperatures are forecast to be near 60 degrees in the middle of the week, more than a dozen degrees above average.

Wow! Unusual, isn’t it? How about that—we don’t bring bad weather with us every year after all. Cliff Mass of the University of Washington seems emboldened enough to explain on his blog that this “dirty ridge” over the region is

This benign weather report is clearly due to the presence of thousands of meteorologists in town for the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society. The weather gods know not to cross us.

We’re not as confident as all that…not yet. Maybe the real stigma we can’t shake is the onset of unconventional weather–both good and not so good.

So, to all those mayors and city commissioners out there scheduled to host AMS Annual Meetings in the years to come, there’s no use in fretting. Maybe…just maybe…that wild winter weather you wish would abate will do so when the AMS comes to your town.