SCOTT MOONEYHAM: Forecasting Hurricanes and Assembly Sessions
Hurricane season is just around the corner. And, of course, prognosticators have their own spinning to do.
(OK, so it wasn't exactly the greatest pun ever.)
Several have come forth with annual predictions about how many storms might come crashing down on North Carolina and the rest of the Atlantic Coast during 2008.
At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they're predicting 12 to 15 named storms -- meaning those reaching tropical storm strength or better -- in the Atlantic this year. Six to nine will become hurricanes, NOAA says. Weather forecasting service AccuWeather foresees 12 named storms, with nine making landfall. And that longtime hurricane forecasting guru William Gray at Colorado State University predicts 15 named storms, with eight becoming hurricanes.
Well, maybe you shouldn't be. Or, perhaps you should be completely terrified.
You see, Gray and NOAA predicted 15 named storms in 2005; there were 28. In 2007, Gray's prognostication hit it on the head, with 14 Atlantic storms of significance. But in 2006, he called for 17 such storms; there were nine.
Of course, Gray and even NOAA will often come back during the height of hurricane season and revise their forecasts. Hmmm. Wonder if Las Vegas would allow the same kind of thing during halftime of the Super Bowl?
Despite this up-and-down record, and the fact that a statistician using the five previous years of storm occurrence could do just as well, Gray has become quite the celebrity with his hurricane predictions.
If him, why not me?
Oh yeah, I don't know anything about the climate or hurricanes.
But what about all those goings-on at the legislature? Oh sure, legislators don't think I have a clue. But as Gray has shown, does it really matter?
With his success in mind, I've decided to make annual predictions on the number of bills that will be filed during each biennial session of the North Carolina General Assembly.
People far and wide will soon seek me out, wanting to know how many pieces of paper will fill the House and Senate bill racks. They will seek my wisdom on how many of those great ideas will make landfall, becoming law.
Why, a decade from now they'll even ask for my musings on what's causing some recent spike in legislation? Is it global warming? Have lobbyists once again found a loophole allowing them to ply legislators with drink?
Of course, after a couple of decades, someone may check the accuracy of my predictions. Some whippersnapper of a columnist will denounce me as a fraud.
But until then, here goes:
I predict between 2,600 and 2,900 bills will be filed in the House during the current two-year legislative session, and between 2,000 and 2,200 in the Senate.
What's that? The biennium is almost over? Bill filing deadlines will be complete next week? Nearly 2,600 House bills and 2,000 Senate bills have already been filed?
That's OK. Consider this a revised forecast.
Scott Mooneyham writes for Capitol Press Association. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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