New Zealand’s national weather forecasting service has apologised to the country today for misforecasting a large cloud as a potentially catastrophic cyclone, formerly known as Cook, or the media-coined Cyclone 2: Many Cook spoils the Beach.
The initial forecast – which predicted the worst storm since 1968 – sent New Zealand and its impressionable media into a frenzied panic, with wall-to-wall coverage costing the life of at least one journalist.
Aucklanders rushed to their local supermarkets to buy out weeks’ worth of supplies, including one man who purchased the entire city supply of kitchen tongs.
But ultimately, it just rained a little, and there was what some described as a “distinct breeze.”
Meteorologist Rob Kerr says MetService is “deeply apologetic” for its error, and acknowledges this one was a “real doozy.”
“Turns out it was just a cloud,” he said. “Big cloud, like this big.” He held his arms out wide on either side of him. “But still a cloud, admittedly.”
Asked how it was possible that a team of highly qualified meteorologists could make such a mistake, Kerr said “Beats me.”
“Woops, I guess?” he explained. “I really don’t know. I mean, it looked like it could be something.”
He said those who had bought up huge amounts of bread and locked themselves underground could “come out now” and “enjoy your bread.”
“Look at it this way. If this had never happened, you’d never know the joy of having all that bread.”
The cloud barrelled down the North Island yesterday, leaving water, a cool breeze, and a lack of sunlight in its wake.
It is currently tracking down the South Island, where it has forced a man with no umbrella to run between two store facades separated by a lack of shelter.