Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Obama speech change: The trend pointed to this

Back on August 14, I wrote in this blog that while it was impossible to predict the weather that far in advance for President Obama's scheduled Sept. 6 outdoor speech at Bank of America Stadium, the trend this summer was not good.

We've been stuck, with the exception of a few days in early July, in an unsettled weather pattern. Frankly, this has been a very stormy summer in the Charlotte region.

My words on Aug. 14: "But the pattern should concern those who want to party outdoors during the DNC this year."

Before blaming convention organizers for this mess, here are a few things to remember.

First, Democratic National Convention Committee officials couldn't have known about the pattern earlier this year when they picked Charlotte as the convention site. At the time, we were coming off a dry and very mild winter.  Back then, we were probably more worried about drought and 100-degree temperatures.

And those who say, "They should've known it might storm -- this is the South," are only partially right.

Yes, afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common in the Carolinas. But climatology shows that Charlotte has experienced a thunderstorm on Sept. 6 only once in the last 10 years. The thunderstorm pattern tends to weaken in late August and early September, as the autumn pattern of strong high pressure begins taking hold.

The DNC ran into the same thing we encounter in trying to schedule a picnic, a pool party, or any other kind of outing.  With the weather, you never really know.

DNC officials have been communicating regularly this week with the National Weather Service, and the decision to scrub Thursday's outdoor concert-style event at Bank of America Stadium and move it indoors must have been pretty tough.

There's a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday, and the computer models indicate the storms will have pushed east of Charlotte by evening.  Bottom line:  The decision to move indoors was not made so much because of any weather impact on the President's speech.  It had a lot more to do with worries about a thunderstorm hitting Charlotte in the afternoon, while the crowd was watching the Foo Fighters and Earth, Wind and Fire (they're still together?), and James Taylor.

The idea of lightning bolts zig-zagging into the stadium obviously put a fright into the convention organizers.

And well it should.  North Carolina is among the nation's leaders in lightning-related deaths each year.

The change of venue for Thursday proves yet again what we all know ... it's always about the weather.


Anonymous said...

Paul McCartney made the rain in Spain stop (Barcelona). Some limey with a guitar can do it but the second coming of Christ can't? What's wrong with this picture?

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Anonymous said...

It was really weird for me, a die-hard Republican, defending the Dems on this. Every conservative website and commentator was screaming that there was going to be no one in the stadium and they were going to be forever shamed, so they moved indoors. Even the monsoon Thursday afternoon didn't shut them up. When the sun came out about 6:30, the guys on Fox News started mocking the decision again. Easy to say when you've been indoors all day.

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