Frustrating Forecasts

I’ve had a few days off and, shockingly, I’ve managed to stay away from the weather. A few glimpses here and there at the latest computer models but I’ve avoided the typical weather obsession for a couple days.

When I’m forecasting I generally don’t look at the National Weather Service forecasts until I’m done making my own and that’s if I have time (a big if under tight deadline!). In big events I’ll try to read the Area Forecast Discussions if I have time but it generally isn’t part of my routine. Last night, as a weather consumer, I went  to the 3 local National Weather Service web pages to get a feel for what Sunday afternoon’s storm would bring. I was quickly reminded why I don’t bother to check their forecasts every day.

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Absolutely no consistency between the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts and Albany, New York! When you’re on the fringe of county warning areas for 3 different National Weather Service offices you can get some ugly looking forecast discrepancies. This is one of them.

It’s not always this bad but there are other times where I’ve noticed dramatic changes to snowfall forecasts from shift to shift that seem more due to forecaster style than any actual change in the computer guidance. Mismatched headlines between one office and another in our viewing area is also such a problem sometimes we don’t even bother to show watches/warnings/advisories for winter weather because it is sometimes more confusing to a viewer than actually helpful!

It’s these kind of things that are frustrating. As someone who is comfortable forecasting a snowstorm with out outside help (not all TV weather people can do that since many are not degreed meteorologists) this isn’t a huge deal. That said, people who rely on NWS information (i.e. local/state governments, public works crews, etc.) are served poorly by such poor coordination between offices.

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