By Kirsten Nelson On August 13, 2007
The lyrics of Bob Dylan speak no lies, but occasionally some have their meaning altered by the passage of time. "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" might have been a smack at the establishment, or maybe it was just another way for our wise and cynical friend to say, "it is so obvious."
Well today it looks like we need a weatherman. This summer has been a real scorcher, and countless people are checking weather websites or consulting the weather "widgets" on their desktop with stunning regularity. These glances at predictions are often filled with the hope that a cooler day will be on the horizon. But something is lacking between the digits posted on these web pages. Where is the meteorologist, waving arms and swirling hands to indicate storm systems and areas of high or low pressure? Without someone to put the numbers into context, they fall a bit flat.
Meteorologists have a talent for making anything seem possible. They'll consult the record books and compare this week's statistics to those from the past year or the past century and shock us with how bad or good it has been in previous summers. But perhaps more crucially, they will take a look at the big picture and explain why we are experiencing a particular atmospheric circumstance.
There is one other old-fashioned weather notion that would probably cause Dylan to shriek with derision. Some of these nationally and even internationally stationed weather reporters can point at a map all day long, but they won't be able to guess what the residents of a particular region are hoping for that day. In the desert, they don't want a weather person in an air-conditioned studio in Atlanta to reassure them that rain won't ruin their weekend. A locally based meteorologist provides a more reassuring outlook.
Even with so much readily accessible information in this day and age, nothing soothes people like a locally customized, globally contextualized weather report. A little bit of expertise combined with an ability to see the big picture goes a long way. Your clients may not need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows, but they wouldn't mind a little bit of help understanding why it blows that way and how long it will persist. And if you show a little sensitivity to their particular needs, you won't seem like you're merely trying to make them wait through the commercials.