PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION has improved in many respects over the years, but the management of the weather continues to be erratic and careless. The weather is continually permitted to go too far. Every autumn there are the usual pledges to try harder next year to keep the following summer within a reasonable range of temperatures. But it is barely June, and once again the thermometer is creeping ominously up into the nineties. Warm weather is tolerable in moderation and is good for many important businesses, such as the sale of ice cream and balloons. But there is no excuse for allowing temperatures to get repeatedly out of control. And, as you have probably noticed, the humidity has returned.
How can the weather simultaneously be both dry and damp? The Weather Administration is now nearly six inches behind in its deliveries of rain to this region. There are all the usual excuses about difficult wind patterns and the shortage of the right kind of clouds. But to fall six inches behind indicates more than a little carelessness. No private business could afford to operate that way. As the humidity readings show, there's plenty of water around. It's just in the wrong form. Why not turn some of that humidity into rain and put it where it will do the grass and tomatoes some good? If things continue on their present course, the only crop likely to flourish around here will be mildew.
Washington has emotional and self-indulgent weather. It is allowed to run to excess, and to stay there for long periods of time. It is not basically a bad climate, or malevolent. It's not like Chicago's climate, or Houston's. But it is undisciplined. What it needs is firm guidance to impose a sense of order and proportion on it. That's what the Weather Administration is supposed to be doing.
What this city needs is weather reform. Don't laugh. Reforming the weather is no more implausible than tax reform seemed a year ago. But now tax reform is proceeding with astonishing success, and with that precedent, anything seems possible.