Supercomputer Weather: Rain Rain Won't Go Away
The best forecasters will always follow up a forecast with a report on how things turned out. And in the case of NOAA's forecast for Russian President Vladimir Putin's St Petersburg party Scoop can today report that NOAA was spot on, cloud seeding or no cloud seeding.
Last week Scoop carried this forecast: Supercomputer Weather: Putin Plays King Canute.
We noted that such an attempt to control the weather just might be interpreted as tempting fate. And with the benefit of hindsight it is clear now that for media minders to announce an intention to hold back the heavens shows very poor PR savvy, afterall, in doing so all that is achieved is the provision of a foil upon which the assembled hacks will delight in impaling your leader should the fly boys fail.
And thus it turned out, when usually a few drops of rain would probably have not even rated a mention, the Russian President's inability to command the clouds to do his will became a matter of some moment in St Petersburg over the weekend.
" THE chemicals sprayed on the clouds didn’t stop the rain; the naval college under its glittering golden spire is crumbling; the fence hiding the ugly dump fooled nobody; and the facade of at least one building was just timber and paint. "
- Reported the Irish Examiner . And…
"Rain fell as Putin greeted leaders of former Soviet states near a statue of Peter the Great today. The Russians spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to seed the clouds to keep the skies clear for the city's ten-day birthday party, but it didn't work."
Closer to Putin's home the story was the same. Rain, again, led the news bite, albeit cast in a more positive light…
" Rain Doesn't Disturb Summit Beginning in St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, May 30. Lingering rain and strong gusty wind blowing from the Neva River could not disturb the first meeting of participants of the St. Petersburg summit which is beginning by the Bronze Horseman, the memorial to the founding of St. Petersburg. According to Rosbalt the members of the delegation are meeting leaders of more than 30 countries under white and blue umbrellas.
A scaffold was constructed around the monument and covered with light blue tapis. A carpet was laid stretching from the Bronze Horseman toward the Admiralteiskaya embankment of the Neva River.
President Vladimir Putin with his wife, who was wearing a warm coat, arrived at the dock of the Neva River in a white and red boat renovated passenger boat called the 'Meteor.' Leaving the deck of the ship, Putin began to meet guests of the city in the rain. "
And as the AP photograph above (all power to Yahoo.com) shows Putin appears not to have lost his sense of humour during his mighty air force's pluvial failure.
Meanwhile in the more in depth coverage of events in the international media the rain also proved an irresistible angle.
"To make sure rain does not spoil the celebrations, the Russian leader has sent up planes to disperse any clouds hanging over the city. "
"As an early evening rainstorm darkened St. Petersburg's freshly painted facades and turned the Neva a choppy gray after days of sparkling sunshine, Putin greeted leaders one by one on the waterfront near a statue of Peter the Great astride a rearing horse.
Putin had planned to welcome his guests at the statue itself — a symbol of Peter's powerful will — then walk with them across a small park to the stony bulk of St. Isaac's Cathedral. That plan was scrapped due to the rain that came despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to seed clouds to keep the skies clear during the city's 10-day birthday party. The dignitaries arrived at the church in buses and limousines. "
and the …. New York Times all got in on the pluvial metaphor for Putin's potency.
" Peter was gloriously sunny and cloudless most of this week. But as skies began to glower today, the government ordered a fleet of 10 military aircraft aloft to bomb the approaching clouds with "environmentally pure substances and internationally certified chemicals" to wring the rain from them before they reached town. "
And the news of the rain that wouldn't go away even made it into our papers down here in New Zealand.
"In driving rain near the massive statue of the Bronze Horseman – a tribute to the city's founder Tsar Peter the Great – he later greeted more guests, among them Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. "