Weather oracle

The September 29 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an article about a 73-year-old Toronto man who claimed that he could predict the weather:


In the other parts of his forecast, Mr. Radley was quite precise: for example, he predicted that the coolest parts of November would be from the 15th to the 23rd, and December would be coolest from the 8th to the 15th and the 20th to the 27th, with no more than eight inches of snow falling to the end of the year. He also predicted six inches of snow in February.

Out of curiosity, I looked up weather records for 1934 and 1935 for Toronto:

  • October 1934 turned out quite dry, with only one significant rainy day, on the 21st. It didn’t rain at all between the 7th and the 19th.
  • In November 1934, Mr. Radley got it exactly backwards: the week of the 17th to the 23rd was the warmest part of the month, with the temperature hitting 17.2C on November 22.
  • In December, there was a cold snap between December 7 and 11, though the 20th to the 27th was nothing special. But there was a lot more snow than eight inches: by my count, there was more than a foot (36.6 cm) of snow during the rest of 1934.
  • There was (approximately) 37.8 cm of snow, again over a foot of it, in February 1935, so poor Mr. Radley was wrong again.

As for Mr. Radley himself: he had another ten years in which to continue to predict the weather, as he appears in Toronto city directories up to 1944 (moving twice along the way). His widow, Kate, is listed in the 1945 directory.

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