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In Local Weather News…

Here's something I find annoying. This is on the L.A. Times website this morning…

Wet Christmas Eve in the forecast for Southern California

Christmas Eve will see a 70% chance of rain as a series of new winter storms moves through the area.

Sunday will experience possible showers in the morning but will clear by the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Another storm will move in Monday, but officials said the rain could move out by Monday night.

Cloudy skies are on tap for Christmas Day, and another storm is expected later in the week.

The weather service said snow levels will be around 5,500 feet.

The storms will be stronger along the Central Coast and lose some of their power when they get to Southern California, officials said.

The headline and lede are wrong or at least misleading. Christmas Eve might wind up being wet in Southern California but that's not what the National Weather Service is predicting. Here is a quote from the actual forecast that was issued this morning at 4:36 AM and which has not changed. (The Times piece was posted at 8:14 AM.)

Steady rain with the next system will arrive on the central coast this afternoon… and will reach the Los Angeles basin around midnight. This will be another fairly fast moving system… and rain will end in most areas Monday morning. Dry conditions are forecast for Christmas eve night and Christmas day.

See? The forecast is for the rain to be over Monday morning in most areas and for Christmas Eve night to be dry. But if you read the Times paraphrase, you'd think the N.W.S. was predicting rain for most of Monday with a chance of it ending by Monday night. The difference could matter a lot if you're planning a party for tomorrow evening…as many are.

The L.A. Times is a pretty good paper but like most, it has this idea that reporters have to report, not quote. Instead of just copying the National Weather Service report — which is written in plain, perfectly-understandable English — they have some Times staffer read the exact same bulletin that any of us could find on the web, then rephrase it for no good purpose. This person probably thought of the term "Christmas Eve" as denoting the entire day, which I suppose is technically correct. There is a forecast for rain on Monday, December 24 but most folks will look at the phrase "Wet Christmas Eve" and not understand that the N.W.S. isn't, at this time, predicting rain in the evening.