In Three Men in a Boat, why was Jerome so critical of weather forecasts?

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chsmith1957 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator brings up the topic of weather forecasts in Chapter V of Three Men in a Boat. This chapter describes the first day of the actual boating expedition. As usual, the narrator gets distracted from the telling of the main story, and he diverts into a diatribe against weather forecasts.

I do think that, of all the silly, irritating tomfoolishness by which we are plagued, this “weather-forecast” fraud is about the most aggravating. It “forecasts” precisely what happened yesterday or the day before, and precisely the opposite of what is going to happen to-day.

Then he gives us a few examples of times when the weather that came seemed to be a day late. We should remember that he wrote this novel in the 1880s in England. Newspapers then may have been using the telegraph in order to share what kinds of weather were occurring in various locations. The means of forecasting the weather were not as complex or sophisticated as those we have now. And yet today, people often complain about the inaccuracies of weather forecasts, too. The issues that Jerome addresses in this book are thus still relevant and still humorous today. We can relate to his conclusion, stated in frustration:

The weather is a thing that is beyond me altogether. I never can understand it.

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