Weather watchers unite

By Yale Hollander

Bob Dylan has been called many things during his six decades in the music business – genius, legend, troubadour, scraggly guy who can’t sing (that one from my wife). I’d like to add another one to the list: soothsayer. 

Case in point: 50 years ago, in “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Dylan said “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” It’s mind-boggling to think that Dylan looked a half-century into the future, saw the STL Weather Forum, and had the good sense to slip a sly reference to it into one of his most iconic tunes. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the STL Weather Forum, it is a Facebook group.  

For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook groups, they are Facebook pages where individuals with a common interest can share thoughts and photos. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook, my sincere thanks for keeping the world and all of its vital functions operating.

“The Forum,” as it is affectionately known by insiders, is a clearinghouse for cutting-edge insight and information about meteorological conditions with an emphasis, as the name cleverly suggests, on local weather. Its loving curator is Mr. David Z. Hoffman, a climatological savant who also practices law in his spare time.  

I attribute The Forum’s wild success (291 members at the time of this writing) to Hoffman’s stewardship. His steadfast dedication to quality and decorum is manifest in The Forum’s motto: “Please refrain from inappropriate comments and hateful criticism of area forecasters.” 

Poetry and professionalism, yes? Yes!  

Speaking of poetry, many of my fellow Forumites (as we are not yet officially known but soon will be thanks to this blog post) choose to post their updates in verse. Take this recent missive from a Forumite in St. Charles County for example: 

 “Sleet in St. Pete.” 

With all due respect to his lengthy and illustrious career, Dave Murray rarely, if ever, waxes poetic when delivering his forecasts.  

This is not to say that we hold local – or national – meteorologists in contempt. Nothing could be further from the truth.  As a matter of fact, esteemed Senior Forumite Josh Wallach heads up our unofficial Jim Cantore Appreciation Society, a sub-group – dare I say sect – that keeps the Forum apprised of the exploits and derring-do of The Weather Channel’s most famous personality not named Dr. Greg Forbes. 

I freely admit that I am what is known as a “legacy” member of The Forum. In the event you are less than fluent in the parlance of fraternal organizations, a legacy is someone who is admitted into a group by virtue of their relation to a past or present member. In my case, I got in on the coattails of my cousin Paul.

Knowing that the seasoned Forumites would cast a highly critical eye on anyone admitted via bloodline rather than merit, I was wary to post until an obligation alert the group to an urgent situation compelled me to break my cautionary silence. When the moment struck, the words flowed. 

“It’s raining.”

That inaugural masterstroke of a post garnered me seven “likes.” Validation! 

Since that illustrious debut, I have become Forum-famous for reporting on the wintry street conditions I encounter during my morning commute between my home in northeast Ballwin and my office in Maryland Heights – a journey which takes me over thoroughfares maintained by no fewer than five sovereign road maintenance and snow clearance entities. Sadly, these reports will soon come to an end as my principal (non-Forum) workplace relocates to the considerably closer Town & Country. I trust another Forumite will assume responsibility for my soon-to-be-former route.

As I write this on Saturday, we are into the early hours of what appears to be a bona-fide significant snow event. Forecasts for the St. Louis region varied from 1-3 to 6-7 inches. Hoffman has advised the Forum that his latest radar analysis suggests 4-5 inches. The Forum is abuzz with chatter as our outposts in Olivette and Chesterfield report on the first falling flakes. Jason Lehtman posts a photo showing pre-snowfall panic shoppers queued-up in a Clayton supermarket (although the cart full of Utz potato chips and Yuengling beer suggests the store may be located a bit further east . . .  like, say, Philadelphia.) This is the stuff Forumites live for.

And even if this impending storm fails to deliver, we merry Forumites will press on, our spirits buoyed by the promise of Spring, or as we prefer to call it, Tornado Season.