cartoon by Chan Lowe, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Klotzbach and Gray release their hurricane season prediction (April 13, 2014)


Here at the Sun Sentinel, there are certain annual stories we run as though we were following the dictates of a liturgical calendar. One of these is the April hurricane prediction quoting “renowned climatologists” Phil Klotzbach and William Gray. These two academics, ensconced in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, promulgate annual hurricane predictions the way a caped Walter Mercado releases astrological forecasts.


A few months ago, my newsroom colleague Ken “Storm Stud” Kaye informed me that K&G had lost their funding from the insurance industry. In a blog entry I wrote at that time, I unkindly referred to them as the “Laurel and Hardy of hurricane prediction” and suggested that they seek sponsorship from some Colorado ski resorts so that they could predict greater-than-average snowfall for a living. This was based on their erroneous prediction that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season would be heavier than normal. As it turned out, we Floridians never even faced one of those pit-of-your-stomach moments of collective prayer that the threatening vortex would veer north and hit some other state.

Hollywood Doggie Beach Pictures


On second thought, maybe I wasn’t being so unkind. When you’re in Klotzbach and Gray’s business, all you care about is whether the media spell your names right.


Ken tells me that our two Cassandras managed to cobble together new funding from somewhere, which is why they have brought the dartboard and magic eight-ball out of the attic to re-emerge with their annual prophecy of potential calamity.


All kidding aside, the K&G’s prediction reminds me that hurricane season is little more than a month and a half away. Once again, it’s time for us Floridians to ignore all the advice, blow off making an emergency plan, forget to stock up on cans of pork and beans, overlook checking whether the batteries are fresh, and postpone all the other petty chores associated with hurricane prep that we fail to perform with such gusto year after year.


So, we’ll probably be seeing each other in the last-minute rush at Home Depot sometime this summer. Two people we won’t encounter, of course, are Messrs. Klotzbach and Gray, because they ran the probabilities a long time ago and figured out that Colorado is the safest place to be this time of year, regardless of their predictions.