Weather or not

Praying for rain works – eventually; perhaps that’s why, even in this country, in “long” periods of drought some folks do it. And, in “long” periods of wet weather, the same folk pray for dry weather. For individuals to pray for local modifications in global weather systems seems like a recipe for meteorological chaos. (For younger readers, Michael Fish was a forecaster from the UK Meteorological Office who famously rubbished talk of an approaching hurricane the day before the Great Storm devastated southern England in October 1986.)

We’ve had some awful flooding here.
I think perhaps I can explain:
Last time we had a lengthy drought
Too many people prayed for rain.

But now, of course, their prayers have changed:
“O let these downpours cease,” they cry;
And many pray the selfsame plea,
“O make again the country dry!”

If they were engineers, they’d see
Their system lacks stability.
Perhaps they ought instead to pray
For much less variability.

Or, better still, don’t pray at all,
O ye of little faith. Instead,
Build reservoirs, keep off flood plains,
Ignore Mike Fish and use your head!

(See also Clerk of the Weather)

[Photo: BBC North Yorkshire]
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