Consumers Corner # 28



“A bright day with some sunny spells, many places will remain dry”
Well, that’s what the BBC weather forecast says on its website
for this morning. Ooops, but it is rather pretty. The view from my study window…..


By Jim Murphy

I used to love listening to AccuWeather meteorologist Elliot Abrams – before KYW Newsradio switched to all-CBS, in-house weather forecasters late in 2014.

Why? Because the pun-loving Abrams freely acknowledged what most of us already know: long-range forecasts are about as accurate as flipping a coin, maybe much worse.

That’s why I loved it when I’d hear him say forecasters were crazy to think they could do two-week or 30-day forecasts with any accuracy. He’s right. (Although his company now predicts weather 90 to 180 days ahead.)

Take recent long-range
forecasts for example:

On Nov. 2, 2017, The Inquirer’s Anthony R. Wood, who’s been writing about the atmosphere for 26 years, said, “the government’s Climate Prediction Center has the odds tilted toward a mild winter for Philadelphia, the entire Northeast, and roughly two-thirds of the rest of the country in the period from Dec. 1 through Feb. 28 that constitutes the meteorological winter.”

Two weeks later, in a follow-up story by Wood, the Inquirer used this headline:

Mild winter remains
good bet, feds say

Woods’ story said trends and models used by the government’s Climate Prediction Center argued “for a winter on the mild side.”

Other sources agreed. “For example, AccuWeather’s most-recent 90-day forecast for Philadelphia has a mild look for December and January.”

And “After a cool start, Glenn Schwartz, the NBC10 meteorologist, foresees a slightly warmer-than-normal January and even milder February. “Wood added: “Schwartz noted that all the long-range computer models he’s looked at argue for mild in the East.”

Well, all of us who braved the Polar Vortex earlier this month, with frigid wind chills dropping below zero for a number of nights, might disagree. We didn’t go above freezing for more than a week!

In recent years, forecasters with modern digital equipment seems to have become more accurate about when and where rain falls locally. They still miss badly on snow amounts, and long-range forecasts.

As I learned many years ago, after interviewing an aerographer’s mate from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station – lots of data doesn’t equate to meaningful information.

After looking at temperatures, winds, dew points and more from airports and weather stations all across the county, the sailor said to me: “I’ll guarantee you one thing: it won’t rain tomorrow.”

It poured cats and dogs. So much for weather science.


A big mistake some
first-time buyers make

Buying a house for the first time? Or any time?

Then listen to this important advice: If you are fortunate enough to have money left over to buy new stuff after purchasing a house, don’t do it until after the sale closes.

If you do, you can derail closing.

Why? As says “Lenders pull credit reports before the closing to make sure the borrower’s financial situation has not changed since the loan was approved.”

Any new loans you’ve taken out in the meantime can jeopardize your closing.

So hold up on the drapes, new car, or new furniture – at least until the house is yours.

You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Sources: and




The amount that half of U.S. families have in retirement savings.



Average retirement age in U.S. (but early for Social Security and Medcare benefits.). Many people retire earlier than they intended, because of health issues or because of downsizing by employers.


38 years

That’s how long your retirement money will need to last if you retire at 62 and live to be 100. That’s longer than many people work in their lifetime. Will you have enough money to last?

Sources:, and



How to keep painful salt
out of your dogs’ paws

Danya Henninger, who writes for, has found a way to help her 90-lb. dog cope with the irritations of salt on Philly’s frozen sidewalks.

She wraps her dog’s paws in 12-18-inch pieces of Glad Press’n Seal.

To see more, Click here:




When San Francisco needed a new street and block plan in 1847, a year before the discovery of gold, city officials hired civil engineer Jasper O’Farrell. His solution: a northeast/southwest street called Market Street – named after William Penn’s Market Street, the country’s first.

Heeding the philosophy of “Go Big or Go Home,” O’Farrell decided to make his Market Street 20 feet wider than Philadelphia’s. 100-foot width. Why? He felt his city would one day be grander than our bustling city, says

While O’Farrell’s grand boulevard seemed absurd at first, it became more practical after immigrants streamed into the city during the Gold Rush.

Today, Market Street is still an important and impressive thoroughfare in San Francisco. It’s wider than ours. But Philly’s Market Street is still the granddaddy of them all. And gaining new life today  on both sides of Broad Street.


Photo Credit

“”A bright day with some sunny spells, many places will remain dry”” flickr photo by tsbl2000 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Jim is also a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guide and writes historical articles for the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine.


Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





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