Static Winter for Forecasters

For weather forecasters, winter is the glory season. Summer forecasts, after all, are boring: Every day is hot and sunny. But winter weather can change from day to day, providing real professional opportunities for the forecasters. A single snowfall in Jerusalem can open the nightly newscast.

This winter, however, is starting to look a lot like summer: Day after day passes, but still no sign of rain.

"It's not that there's nothing to report, but unfortunately, there's no reason to go out into the field," said Danny Deutsch, Channel 2 television's forecaster. "After a long summer of dying to go outside, so far, you're left with crumbs."

"There's something to report, but this isn't weather that gets photographed for television," agreed Danny Rupp, Channel 10's weatherman.

Not everything is black, however: There may not be good photo opportunities, but at least there is some variety. Forecasters can report on the cold spell now afflicting Europe, and even yesterday's unseasonable local warm spell would have merited a sizable report had there not been a war on.

Moreover, hope is not yet lost. "In recent years, there has been a phenomenon of winter arriving late and finishing late," explained Rupp. "Last January, there were three cold, dry weeks. And in general, the rains in recent years have been less frequent, but more intense."

"Droughts are generally declared at the end of winter, not during it," agreed Deutsch. "On the other hand, last year was a drought year - and even in comparison to it, [this year's] data are problematic."