Royal Norman shares his 2 favorite worst forecasts

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(Source: Thanapol Kuptanisakorn via 123RF) (Source: Thanapol Kuptanisakorn via 123RF)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

My two favorite worst forecasts ever happened when I was younger and perhaps too confident in my forecast skills which, to be honest, hadn’t really developed very fully yet. We’re talking last-century forecasts. Still, the stories are true. 

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Easter Sunday

A friend of mine was having a big family barbecue outside for Easter Sunday. It was kind of a tradition for the family. Dozens of families would be there. It would be a day of fun and food. Except there was rain in the forecast. My friend had heard the forecasts for the day and was quite worried.

He asked me if he should call it off. After taking a closer look, I came to a conclusion.

“You’ll be OK," I told him. "The worst you could see is a passing morning shower. Then it will be sunny and nice.”

Ha (as my friend, April Warnecke, would say)!

The friend went out to the park that morning in a downpour.

He unloaded all his cooking stuff and food into a park ramada in a downpour.

He wasn’t worried at all because his buddy Royal said it would be a passing shower. 

At this point, in my house nice and warm and dry, I’m in a complete panic trying to get hold of him. This was pre-cell phones. Nobody answered the house phone. Nobody answered his son’s phone.

I wanted to tell him to bail. I was wrong; it was going to rain all day.

Fast forward to 3 p.m. and it’s still raining and my buddy is packing up his car. There was no party. There was no barbecue. I later learned he stayed at the ramada all day telling people, “Don't worry. Royal told me the rain is going to end.”

And his friend, the meteorologist, had gotten the forecast completely wrong.

Dbacks celebration

Before there was a Diamondbacks team, there was Jerry Colangelo and his dream. And in the years leading up to the first season, we watched a stadium get built, a manager get hired, even play-by-play announcers brought in. We all wanted baseball to start yesterday.

The Dbacks were planning a big outdoor event to celebrate, I think, the first time they were going to start selling season tickets. It was a big deal with thousands expected to attend during an all-day Saturday event.

Again, there was rain threatening. But I, after reading MY tea leaves, decided all the experts were wrong once again and I had it down, concluding that any rain wouldn’t arrive until Saturday night at the earliest. So far, not too much of a hole.

Until I did this.

I wrote a short note with a forecast and (boldly) faxed it over to Mr. Colangelo’s office saying it wouldn’t rain that Saturday. What’s amazing about this is that, other than the odd interview or saying hello, I really don’t know Mr. Colangelo. But there I was, faxing him a forecast contradicting all the other experts in town. 

Bah ha ha (as my friend, Kim Quintero, says)!

It poured all day. Poured. Luckily, the Dbacks were smart enough to listen to most of the other forecasters and not this rogue fellow at 3TV.

They made plans for the rain and, from what I understand, had a pretty successful event.

Then I got the letter from Mr. Colangelo politely thanking me for the forecast while, at the same time, acknowledging that it rained a lot. He also wrote that he figured a little rain would fall on his franchise at times.

It did. Remember late in Game Seven against the Yankees with the roof open? It rained. And the Diamondbacks were World Series Champions. Mr. Colangelo was right.

So, you pick the worst.

Both are super bad because I was being so definite. And in the Dbacks case, I was actually reaching out to them with a forecast; they didn’t ask.

Luckily, I learned a lot from both of these forecast blunders: Don’t do personalized forecasts.

No, that wasn’t it. What was it?

I learned both my friend and Mr. Colangelo are very gracious people.

And I needed to get better at forecasting.

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