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Thread: Do People Understand The Weather?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    May 2003
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    Northwestern Ohio
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    Do People Understand The Weather?

    Toledo is rocking the weekend, especially today, Saturday, 8-28-04.....

    President Bush is arriving soon.....giving a speech in bedroom suburb Perrysburg. One (1) of the USA's largest companies, auto parts manufacturer Dana Corporation, with HQ in Toledo, is having a giant lawn party, celebrating 100 years of business. The Thunderbirds are at Toledo Express Airport, part of a 2-day airshow that will attract about 75,000 onlookers. Swanton (bedroom suburb) is having their annual "Cornfest". Oregon (bedroom suburb) is hosting the annual German-American Festival.

    With hundreds of thousands of NW Ohio and SE Michigan residents heading to these outside events chances are they watched The Weather Channel to make their plans......to make their go-no go decisions.

    My question, as presented to a group (Cyburbialand residents) that are somewhat
    good with geography, etc......do people really understand the weather?

    Sure, technology and services such as The Weather Channel make it easier to see what's happening in your area. And we all have a good time poking fun at the weather people when they make wrong weather predictions, etc.

    Do people really understand the difficulty in weather forecasting. Do they understand the geography of wear they live and how that can affect weather?

    Here in NW Ohio the old timers (and a lot of "yunguns") always say, "We live in a valley so the weather goes around us." Actually, the water temperature of Lake Erie affects us a lot more than any valleys (Maumee River valley).....and our overall location in the Great Lakes Area has a huge affect.

    Final note: I have been a boater most of my life. Bet ya a buck $$ that boaters are better at understanding weather than most folks.

    Sail On Sail On Sailorbear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Where I grew up in northern coastal California we had just two season: rainy season and foggy season. Since moving to Florida I've learned alot about tropical weather....at what wind speeds they become depressions/storms/hurricanes. Do I understand it? Sure I do, I understand it's not predicable.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Jan 2003
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    Santiago, Chile
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    I belive I've said it before, that Chilean weather is quite easy to predict, since for most of the country there's only one way bad weather can come from, and that's the Pacific Ocean, hence, with just looking at a sattelite image, you can easily predict if it's going to be raining or not, of course acounting the influence of the Pacific high pressure system (that's one of the causes of the Atacama Dessert).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    400 miles from Orlando
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    I think most people who live in FL or other hurricane-prone areas eventually learn what can influence the development and path of a hurricane. Sometimes the predictions are right on the money (Floyd was barreling towards the east coast of FL and abruptly turned north, just as predicted), sometimes they're not. Other than that, I can't say I know much about weather.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    I took "clouds for clowns" instead of "rocks for jocks" in first year. Dullest subject ever, just barely passed. Only thing I really remember and iot is not rocket science is that fog is just a cloud looked at from inside.

    Where I live now the weather is really unpredicable, the winds don't tell you much of what is coming and they tend to shift radically in a short amount of time.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    I hate weather forecasting jargon. Drives me up the wall. What is the friggin difference between "isolated thunderstorms" and "scattered thunderstorms"? I think I know the difference, but you think the local weather folks could at least tell you what that means, right? Nope. They just keep yapping their gums day after day about this non-sensical stuff. Just tell me if it's gonna rain!!

    When I lived in northern Michigan, the local forecasters used to talk about "lake effect" snow. I had no idea what that meant. I soon figured it out when I had to drive to Connecticut and drove through Buffalo during a snowstorm. On the radio, the forecaster said Buffalo is experiencing extreme lake effect snow, that precipitation would be shearing off Lake Erie for the next couple of hours. Ah-ha!! There! I finally got it! All these years in Michigan and I never knew what lake effect snow was. And we're surrounded by three lakes. Somehow the local forecasters seem to assume that we all know what the heck there are talking about. I can't stand any of them. The only ones worth their salt work for the Weather Channel.

    And what's with all those stupid graphics and "brands" associated with local forecasting? We have Doppler Max 5000 at one station and Doppler 12 XTreme at another. UGH! What's with all that? Just tell me the weather already!


  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I never realized how much of a local weather predicting sense I acquired until I moved away to places like California, North Carolina and Japan. Folks that live in west Michigan (and many other places throughout the midwest) can get a pretty good feel for what the weather is going to be just by looking west. I never realized how much we subconsciously rely on this very simple forcasting technique til I got somewhere it didn't work.
    Michiganders (and Buffalonians) admit it, you can tell the difference between lake effect and regular snow....there's a certain smell in the air before it snows.....if you see stationary high level cirrus clouds and much lower faster moving cumulus clouds coming from any direction - watch out tornado weather!
    Radar is nice but I would guess anyone who's spent some time living where they are has developed a certain weather sense.
    I remember talking once to the meteorology guys at Kadena air base on Okinawa. They, of course, have access to all the latest and greatest weather forcasting technology. I asked them what weather criteria they relied on before they 'closed' a base due to a typhoon - he flat out told me 'we wait and see if the locals are battening down the hatches'.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    If the weathermen say "snow" here, the grocery is bound to be out of bread, eggs and milk before the first flake falls. It seems that "snow" is understood locally to be "all-out, white-out, school's out, massive, unrelenting, devastating, incapacitating BLIZZARD". And, of course, we get an inch.

    I don't think Joe Sixpack truly understands the weather unless he lives in a trailer.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

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