Weather & Politics Just Don’t Mix

In a loose sense, it’s fitting that on the day Ray Nagin, who says his biggest regret wasn’t ordering New Orleans evacuated sooner before Katrina, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, we have another politician making a bizarre statement about weather to attempt to (and fail to) make a larger point.

Andrew Cuomo claimed earlier today in a press conference that tornadoes don’t hit New York. Almost anyone would tell you that’s patently false. Which has me thinking: What the heck is it with politicians and weather incidents? Politicians are certainly some of the most scrutinized people in America now, because (almost) everything they say, do, or think is out there for the public to mock, debate, disparage, disagree with, or agree with. But it seems like with weather disasters, politicians become…weird. Let’s review some incidents.

Mayor Bloomberg’s bizarre attempt to downplay Hurricane Sandy in 2012

Mayor Bloomberg’s botched response to the December 2010 Blizzard

Mayor de Blasio’s school closing issues this past winter

As an aside, what’s up, New York? You guys don’t coordinate with your local National Weather Service office too well, do you?

Georgia’s Governor Deal (and Atlanta Mayor Reed) blames the NWS for the gridlock disaster in Atlanta this past winter.

Over in Italy, the governor of Veneto in the northeast, blamed meteorologists for poor tourism revenue.

Governor Herbert of Utah blamed meteorology for poor air quality in the urban corridor there in winter 2012-2013

In India, a revenue minister blamed meteorologists for Cyclone Nilam problems in 2012.

The mayor in Rio threatened to sue the chief meteorologist there for a busted New Year’s Eve forecast.

Moscow’s mayor lashed out at meteorologists for a busted snow forecast in 2009.

And everyone blames weather on the major drop in GDP earlier this year.

There are other examples I can’t recall right now. But politicians never cease to find a good reason to blame weather on something, butcher facts about weather or weather forecasts, all to deflect blame from themselves or their bad policies. Or alternatively, it also may have to do with the fact that people demand an explanation for everything. There has to be a “why” at any cost. Why the tornado? Climate change. Why the bad economic news? Cold weather. Why the high casualty numbers? Bad forecasts. People demand answers and politicians fight to stay in power, and if that means blaming the meteorologist or the weather, then so be it. We’re an easy punching bag, and alas, this is what we will likely continue to deal with.


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