Nate Silver’s People Think Boston Will Get More Snow This Year
Adherents to the school of Nate Silver during election seasons might not be so anxious to hear his website’s latest prediction. According to Silver’s site, FiveThirtyEight.com, odds are that Boston will get more snow before the year is out. Isn’t that a fun thought to ruin your pleasant spring day? You’re welcome!
But wait. You’ve already reaccustomed yourself to this week’s weather, with highs in the 50s, haven’t you? The great melting has begun, right?
More snow? That simply can’t be right. The prediction that there’s more snow in our future is enough to make us adherents of Unskewed Polls. Anything to make us believe that your “numbers” and “data” and “objectivity” don’t bear out.
Actually, as we learned in 2012, it’s probably not wise to go full conspiracy theorist on FiveThirtyEight. Harry Enten collected data from the past 50 years across several cities to determine whether there might be snow in their futures. And like that stupid little groundhog always does, he’s bringing bad news:
In more than 50 percent of winters, Boston, New York and Philadelphia saw a last snowfall after March 9. In fact, 25 percent of the time in all three cities, it occurred at the end of March or even later.
The methodology is pretty simple, and it’s far from a sure thing. Historical data isn’t always a good predictor of future weather. But it’s still a set of odds with which you’d do best to start mentally contending. Of course, if you gave up on the whole “ever seeing green things again” and started actually rooting for Boston to break its annual snowfall record this season, perhaps this is good news. After all, we’re less than two inches away from making this the worst winter on record, by snowfall.