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Thread: Weather forecasting

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Weather forecasting

    Something struck me the other day while watching the local tv weather radar channel; at some unidentified/unnamed part of my life I began to actually put some credence - dare I even say trust - into the NWS's (and consequently the local weather man's) forecasts! This was unthinkable just a few decades ago. Jokes abounded about "what job can one be wrong half the time and still stay employed? - being a weatherman!" Seems like back in the late 60's and early 70's the weatherman was wrong almost half the time - I'm sure they got the next day's forecast right the majority of the time, but my impression is that accuracy fell off sharply beyond that. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed this?

    There have, of course, been several important advances like sophisticated radars, satellites, and computer modelling (not to mention the years of experience necessary to learn to use some of these tools to their best advantage) that aid greatly in the process, but I'd be hard pressed to pick a year where the balance suddenly tipped and and meteorologists' opinions worth more than Grandpa's trick knee or Aunt Charlene's corns.

    With all the geography/earth science types we've got floating around here I bet we take a more informed look at the art (no no Maister it's a science dammit!) of meteorology than most. Do you place much stock in your local tv weatherperson's predictions for tomorrow? How about the weekend forecast? What about the 10 day outlook? Are you one of those folks that gets drawn to the weather news at the slightest whiff of dark skies or drop in atmospheric pressure come tornado or hurricane season?



  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    I put more trust in the National Weather Service than the on-camera meteorologists. After all, the Weather Channel and your local weatherman is just out there to get viewers like everyone else. Plus, all of them, usually take what the NWS provides them and put their own little spin on it anyways. I'd rather take the NWS forecast at face-value without the spin and the dumbing down that takes place with the TV stations. Also, have you ever seen a MSNBC, CNN, or Fox News weather forecast. Does anybody actually rely on that crap?? Talk about dumbed-down weather forecasts.

    Of course, the NWS is wrong a lot of the time too. But at the end of the day, they're still the professionals concerned more about weather forecasting and public safety than they are about viewership.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Are you one of those folks that gets drawn to the weather news at the slightest whiff of dark skies or drop in atmospheric pressure come tornado or hurricane season?
    Yes, I am specially given our area's history of "out of season" tornadoes.

    Also I have taken the NWS weather spotter and radar classes.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  4. #4
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    On a related note....

    This reminds me of....something...hummm. Oh, here it is:

    A meteorologist predicts the future. "For the next two days, we are expecting night and morning fog, clearing skies during the mid-day with highs in the mid __'s, lows in the lower ___'s. On day three, light showers in the early morning leading to clearing skies."

    A seismologist reports on the past. "Yep, we just had an earthquake and it measured X.X on the Richter scale occurring on the ________ Fault about 20 miles southeast of the City of _____________."

    All things considered, I'd rather be a seismologist. What kind of education and training is required to report on the past? Sitting around and watching squiggly lines on a rotating cylinder sounds like a pretty good gig to me.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    One day out? Right on.

    Two days out? Plan drinking binge for weekend.

    Three days out? How to pack for drinking binge weekend.

    Four days out? Start paying attention to planned drinking bine.

    Five days out? I am in Wisconsin... Do i see a rianstrom abouth to hit wthe est coste.

    Six days out? DAMN ITS COLD HERE!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  6. #6
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    I tend to put more stock in my local National Weather Service office than my local "late news at 10". I especially have been enjoying it more recently when I found this interesting link on my local NWS office's webpage. It is basically a discussion on how the forecaster comes up with the local forecast. It is usually updated 4 times a day. I am pretty sure most local NWS offices have a similar discussion on the left side of the page. They look at the models and then account for local conditions such as snow pack etc. that the computer models usually don't pick up.

    As a weather geek I find it really interesting even if it is pretty technical at times.

  7. #7
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I tend to put more stock into the local guy's forecasts. Sure, he like everyone else gets the same info from the NWS, but when it comes to things like identifying the likelihood or the amounts of snow accumulations to expect from lake effect, I think his decades of experience with this area shows.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    We have a couple TV weathermen in the Toledo market that are reasonably accurate. I do feel that, generally, weather forecasting is much better than a decade ago......and huge snowballs better than when I was a young'n.

    One of the local channels used to do a nighttime weather show on a downtown Toledo sidewalk, back when Toledo's downtown was still very active (retail-wise). It was called "Weather In The Weather". Folks would wander downtown, watch the show, and the weather dude would talk, on the tube, with a few of the gallery-goers. I went once, wearing my old cowboy hat. He didn't talk to me. Wonder why.

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