Come On

After a busted forecast I should be the last person to be throwing stones, but this forecast from the National Weather Service at noon is outrageous. Take a look at that graphic above, yes, that’s right, 18″ in New Haven.

New Haven will be LUCKY to get half that. In fact, at noon, when this forecast was released that was abundantly clear.

When your forecast is wrong you just need to man up and pull back. We try our best but it’s an imperfect science. We understand that people close schools and businesses and money is lost when we’re forecasting a foot of snow. None of us take that responsibility lightly. We messed up on this one, it’s time to admit it and say sorry.

Ryan

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11 thoughts on “Come On

  1. Found your blog looking at the weather reports this morning. =)I am one of those people that will never blame a weather person. I understand that your job is very hard, especially up here in New England!So thank you for trying your best when you can. It has to be so frustrating to see comments from people whom call you idiots and say things like, "i wanna job where im wrong 90% of the time and still get paid."www.learnxtoxfly.wordpress.com

  2. Ryan, your call on this storm has been consistently more accurate than any other source I've seen this week.Like you said yesterday, it's impossible to know where the heavy snowbands will set up, and it just so happened that CT got screwed again.Don't listen to the bitter idiots writing hate mail…you did a great job in my opinion!~Joey

  3. Joey, had to laugh at your comment (that "CT got screwed again" because it DIDN'T get lots of snow) highlights the difference between New Englanders and Washingtonians. Writing from DC and Washingtonians down here in are miserable at the snow (fortunately there are snow lovers – and CT natives – like me who can appreciate it.) It is thrilling and I'm sorry we can't send some your way!Writing from DC, where the forecast not only got the amount close but even the start time dead on – I appreciate the science and art of weather forecasting.

  4. I appreciate your honesty as well. How about you go a step further next time and give an idea of how certain the events are. something like, there's a 40% chance the storm will miss us and glance us with snow. surely this percentage does exist, since as you say, its an imperfect science. The problem is the weather forecast is given with such certainty, its taken (or used to be) as gospel. then people do things like cancel school and close businesses before a flake has fallen.

  5. Ryan, I appreciate the apology. Having lived in Upstate NY where it snows every day of winter, I learned it's the language and tone of the broadcast that is important. When it rains you might say we have a 60% chance of rain but with snow weather broadcasters are definitive "expect 14 inches in southern CT". That's definitive. Why not, since the storm was a day away say he have a ___% chance of a significant snow fall. You can't be wrong in that case and it's a more accurate portrayal of what I'm sure you see. Weather prediction is as much an art as a science and the language should reflect that so the public doesn't jump to conclusions. It isn't that weather broadcasters are wrong it is that the message is interpreted by the public that they are right (it's a scientific fact isnt it?). Not your fault, just something you should be aware of.

  6. Rich, thanks for the comment. I've actually tried a probabilistic forecast approach on this blog a few times. Something to the effect of, "60% chance of greater than 6" of snow at BDL". It's easy to do that in narrative form on a blog, but actually doing it on air is a lot more challenging. Too many numbers and your viewers can get confused.

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