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Why Meteorologists Are (supposedly) Almost Always Wrong

Updated on March 17, 2013

As a 25 year former television and radio meteorologist here is the comment that would have bought me a mansion if I had a dime for every time I heard it: “It must be nice to screw up your job every day and not get fired”. I always politely smiled to my viewers and went on my way, but inside I was itching to start something.

I mean, come on, as a professional meteorologist I took my job very seriously! (let alone the countless hours in the classroom studying physics, math and chemistry to understand this darn thing) Perhaps I’m getting a little defensive—I do realize that comment was just a cute joke. But it has always irked me when the public continues to have this perception that weather forecasters just can’t get it right.

For starters, studies have shown that a two-day forecast is accurate 75 to 80% of the time. If you think about it, that’s a pretty darn good record! Just think about your favorite NFL team for a minute--in my case the Green Bay Packers. If the Packers won 80% of their games every year, the team would have to build an addition to Lambeau Field to display their pile of Super Bowl trophies. What I’ve always found interesting about our culture is how meteorologists seem to get unfairly picked on compared to other professionals in the science world. Perhaps it’s because we need someone to curse at when it suddenly rains on your picnic. But, for example, what about doctors?

Does a doctor always get it right when trying to diagnose a health problem you’re having? Do you politely curse him when you still don’t feel better after his diagnosis and treatment?

A former boss of mine had a very simple, but I think profound observation. “You’re predicting the future”. I initially thought, of course I am—that’s what I get paid to do. But no, I am predicting the future. What other profession in the world that predicts the future is so highly scrutinized as weather forecasters? That question is part of the answer to the original question “why are Meteorologists always (supposedly) wrong”. Leave it to a meteorologist to sound confusing, right? But here are my top three reasons why people think we just can’t get it right. Hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised a bit.


1. Selective Memory

What is one of the first things most people in America do when they wake up in the morning? They check the weather forecast. Meteorologists are tested 365 days of the year. There are no vacations, no sick time, no sabbaticals, no holidays, no “my kid is sick I gotta stay home” days. Somebody always has to forecast the weather. My point with this is when there’s that much attention paid to anything, for whatever reason many times human instinct is only to remember the “misses”.

I always told my friends it’s amazing how I’ll get on TV and accurately predict the weather to a tee six days in a row, but on the seventh day when I blow it, the complaint hotline starts ringing. Sounds crazy but I honestly believe perceptions change when the only thing one remembers is the negative! If you only actively process the blown forecasts and not the correct forecasts, sure—you’re probably going to have a bad perception of meteorologists.

2. The Telephone Game

Do you remember that game you may have played as a kid? Ten people sit in a circle and the first player whispers a short story to the person sitting next to him. That person then tells the same story to the person sitting next to him, and so on. What a hoot it was when the last person in the circle had to tell the story out loud! Usually it started as “my dog likes to take a walk in the park” and finished as “your grandmother wears combat boots”.

Talk about the telephone game with weather forecasting. Sometimes I was convinced in my television career that my “Mostly cloudy with scattered afternoon thunderstorms” forecast ended up as “Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers” by the time the TV signal actually landed in someone’s living room. Let’s face it, people talk, especially when a big storm is on the way. I observed it for a quarter of a century—the “story” of a weather forecast gets distorted on it’s path from the meteorologist to the last person in line hearing it.

3. Learn To Listen Correctly

Don’t want to sound like your mother here, but wow, this one is a doozy for me. I always said I would bet my next paycheck on the following scenario coming true. I would ask ten people to come into a room and I would give them a three-minute weather presentation—detailed forecast and all. An hour later I would then ask them to come back to the room and individually repeat back to me what the forecast is. I guarantee I would get at least four different versions! One meteorologist, one forecast, but four different versions. This problem will probably never be cure-able because it’s inevitable that people get distracted during the evening news and don’t always process everything. But you get the point. Its no wonder people think weather forecasters always get it wrong when there are different perceptions of the forecast.

Here is an amazing example of this and I swear on my barometer that this is a true story. I presented the forecast on the 11 PM news one night. The next morning I went to the grocery store and a woman stopped me because she recognized me from the news. She was very polite but really pointed out how wrong I was with my forecast the night before. I was polite back and went on my way. Ten minutes later and four aisles down another woman stopped me, recognizing me from the news. We chatted a bit and then she commented that my forecast from last night was spot-on. I think I dropped my tomatoes on the floor and just stared at her for a moment. I chuckled a bit and made the proper confirmations: she watched me on Channel 13 during the 11 PM newscast Tuesday night. Same time, same bat channel, same weather guy and the same forecast as the other lady who thought I blew it. How is this possible? Goes back to what I was saying—someone needed to sharpen up their listening skills.

So the next time you bump into your local meteorologist in aisle four cut him some slack. He’s not as bad as you think. If you have any questions about the weather feel free to post! I would be happy to answer them and will even give you a custom forecast for wherever you’re headed.

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      jay murr 4 years ago

      I would have more respect for your profession if you admitted your prediction is an educated guess.Don't cover it with Dopler 2000 or Acuweather 5000 which gives people the impression that what you're doing is a pinpoint scientific prediction

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      Jeff Smith 4 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      I respect your opinion but I don't find the connection between brand naming a product equates to meteorologists claiming it's a pinpoint scientific prediction. Every meteorologist in the world knows their forecasts aren't going to be pinpoint 100% of the time and never claims this. When you go into a local car dealer and they boast "friendliest service in town" on their outside billboard, do you have less respect for them? No, of course not. It's their way of branding their product. You might say that predicting atmospheric conditions shouldn't be branded, but let's face it television news is a product and business, just like coke, pepsi, roto rooter and bic razor blades. Thus branding is necessary. But to say that branding implies "our meteorologists are the only ones in the world who know how to accurately predict the weather 100% of the time" is silly. We know it's an educated guess, just like any other scientist in any other field knows their predictions are an educated guess, subject to not being accurate all the time. My point, and I chuckle as I say this, is why the incredible scrutiny on Meteorologists? I once predicted a morning snowfall of about 1/2". I then got an angry call from a viewer who complained my forecast was wrong. I apologized and then asked him how much snow did he get? His answer? 1/4". Enough said.

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      Sue 3 years ago

      I stopped reading after you equated meteorology to football, for the sake of percentages. What the hell does football have to do with our day-to-day lives? And what does the weather (especially severe) have to do with our day-to-day? Sooo yeah, as long as dumbasses are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to sit in the stands of a shitty football team while they sweat, and run into each other, and eventually lose, fine. It literally does not decide the rest of my life, HOWEVER more money being spent on research of tornadoes to find if there are ways to know, more than 5 seconds before, that a tornado is coming to the area, yes I'm all for it. If that's why you related the two, then yes, put down your nachos and foam fingers and spend your money on more useful things/people. But, up until now, you're predicting the future just as much as that fantasy football/bookie are predicting the future in how they place their bets.... just saying. Meteorology is defined as 1) The branch of science concerned with the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere. 2) The climate and weather of a region... So when commercial time hits are you studying past storm patterns? Or are you getting out from in front of the green screen, and getting your face retouched with make-up, and more hairspray for that quaff you like to call bangs? You understand I'm being mordant.

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      Jeff Smith 3 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      I'm also stopped reading after your analysis of my article. For God's sake, READ the article. The comparison to football is this. Too many people scrutinize meteorologists WAY TOO MUCH AND EXPECT WAY TOO MUCH. We admit we're not accurate 100% of the time. Yet when we miss, I get ignorant assholes such as yourself bitching that it rained on your bike ride. Yeah, so what it rained on your bike ride. But we just nailed the forecast, i.e. PREDICTING THE FUTURE, 90% of the time the last two weeks in a row. Do you politely bitch to us how that forecast was accurate? Do you commend us for reducing tornado warning lead time from 2 minutes to 20 minutes in our research the last twenty years? Do you commend us for the unbelievable warnings and accuracy we provided in major storms like hurricanes and blizzards over the last 20 years? You don't complain if your football team loses on Sunday 20% of the time. Don't bitch if your local meteorologist misses the forecast 20% of the time. Yet you do.

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      Lars 3 years ago

      I understand that weather prediction is not an exact science, and lets face it, if the prediction is incorrect and my picnic gets rained on I want to blame someone, and you are an easy target. But, why do meteorologists not be a bit more humble when making forecasts? I rarely ever hear "to the best of our knowledge", all I hear is a the implication that what they say is exactly what will happen. And it seems to me making a very specific seven day forecast is just foolish. So I am not angry that you cannot predict the weather with 100% accuracy. I just want you to tell me once in a while that it is just an educated guess.

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      dafeafdagf 3 years ago

      you compared meteorologist to doctors? are you serious?

      doctors go to school for a MINIMUM of 11 years (4 undergrad, 4 medschool, 3-5(residency) even fellowship (another 3-5)... before starting to practice. They are attempting to help a person's life.

      The meteorologist predicts if its rain or shine.

      Are you serious? You are a complete idiot.

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      Jeff Smith 3 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      Get some intelligence and learn how to read. I'm NOT comparing the value of a doctor's profession to the value of a meteorologist. I was simply using a doctor as an ANALOGY. I'm guessing you probably don't even know what that word means so I'm probably wasting my time writing back to you. Oh, and for the record meteorologists DO SAVE lives. Look at the fatality rates of hurricanes and tornadoes prior to when computer models, radar and satellite pictures came into play. With out the folks getting their DOCTORATE IN METEOROLOGY none of this technology would have been invented that saves lives. Stop being ignorant.

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      Becka 3 years ago

      If your favorite football team won 80% of its games that would be between 12 and 13 wins a year (16*0.80), which would likely land them in the playoffs every year but certainly not have any bearing on winning a "pile" of Super Bowl trophies. Ignorance of basic math and statistics - reason #1 why meteorographers can't get it right. Do you curse a doctor for getting it wrong - nope, you sue them, they carry malpractice insurance for getting it wrong. Reason #2 meteorographers can't get it right - no consequences for getting it wrong. That's as far as I got because, let's face it, meteorographers are fear mongers that only need ratings to get paid. And, yes, I disparagingly use the term "meteorographer" because meteoroloGIST implies scientific credibility to what you claim you do.

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      Jeff Smith 3 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      I GUARANTEE you if you sat in at an upper level meteorology course for 2 days your brain would be spinning so fast you wouldn't know what to do. It's only a miracle that we've come to partially understand and most of the time accurately predict, the incredibly complex chemistry experiment going on in the sky. There is physics, calculus, endless mathematical equations, etc. etc, that describe the fluid motion of air, pressure and moisture in our atmosphere. All of which most of it we can't physically see (looking up in the sky is about 10% of what's going on in our atmosphere). From your ignorant response, I would bet a lot of money you wouldn't last one day in the course requirements for atmospheric sciences. I also guarantee you that you 99% of degreed television meteorologists are not fear mongers. Myself and my colleagues predict what we feel is accurate. There isn't one second when we're digging through computer models 3 hours before a broadcast that we're thinking about ratings. If a producer EVER encourages us to hype something, we as meteorologists squash it. If said producer proceeds to hype the weather in their own writing for a newscast, that's their issue. Becka, why can't you please respond with some credible facts to support your argument. When I said 12 or 13 wins would win Super Bowl trophies it was meant as tongue in cheek. Lighten up! (and besides if you look at all of the Super Bowl winners they DO have about an 80% regular season winning percentage). And how amazing you just shot down your own argument with doctors!! By pointing out that doctors have malpractice insurance, it shows that the medical field can't always get it right!!! It's an unpredictable science, just like meteorology and all other sciences. Part of my point of the article was that it is unfair to point out meteorologists as the only professionals in the science field who don't always get it right. And besides, we DO get it right most of the time. Make that 80% of the time. Look it up. It's a fact. It's been documented through independent studies. Stop your ignorance.

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      Becka 3 years ago

      First, my 'brain-spinning' from 2 days in an upper level meteorology course - I suspect the 18 graduate-level (masters and doctorate) statistics courses I excelled in would have me well-prepared for 'meteorography 600 - puffycloudology'. In the spirit of 'head-spinning' - the only advanced student I have ever failed in a stat course was one of you folks. One of you folks who couldn't handle the introductory 400-level material on linear modeling (y = mx + b complex indeed!). Second, my point about doctors and their accuracy does not shoot down my argument, unless you didn't understand what the argument was. My point was not about perfect accuracy - it is about consequences for inaccuracy. Doctors (and most everyone else) have consequences - you meteorographers do not. How good does that 80% accuracy you claim look if you only get 80% of your pay? What if your career/income/ability to earn a living were directly tied to your accuracy? This brings us to third; your 80% accuracy is fantastic - if you are satisfied with B- performance (need 84% minimum for a solid B). What if other people in other occupations were allowed to perform at 80% and not just once in a while but 80% all of the time (we call that cumulative performance - not to be confused with cumulo/cumulus, which I am certain you mastered in puffycloudology)? Would you be happy if your banker miscounted your money one random day a week every single week (note: 40 hours * 80% accuracy = 4 accurate days a work week)? Would you be satisfied if your utility company accurately supplied electricity/natural gas only 292.1936 random days a year (I'll leave the math for you on that one)? The point is not that the world is overly critical of you meteorographers. Rather, the point is that your accuracy rates (heck I'll give you 90% - which we know is not true) would leave most employees fired, most suppliers cut, and most service providers bankrupt - yet you meteorographers continue to get it right a whopping 80% (your estimate) of the time and think you are doing a fantastic job at it. This is why people are critical of what you claim is 'scientific'. How can it be 'scientific' and so 'advanced' when assembly line workers making cheap plastic toys would be let go if 20% of their work was crap? In responding (if you do) please avoid delving into personal insult by calling me and others ignorant. Note that my condescension (not to be confused with condensation - review your meteorography 600 notes) of your field is not a personal attack on you. Finally, please try to keep on intellectual track with my points made above, as opposed to spinning off on tangents based on your emotional response to being challenged.

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      Jeff Smith 3 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      Amazing. For how "intellectual" you, the statographer is, you completely fail to even recognize that meteorology is a science that is not fully understood. Medicine is not fully understood. Should we fire or "hold accountable" the cancer researchers who continue to FAIL every year discovering a cure, yet we continue to fund them and their universities? Come on, get my point. You say meteorologists should be held accountable either by getting fired or losing pay because they're not 100% accurate. Name me ONE science that predicts future events that is 100% accurate. Your analogy to predicting the weather 100% of the time exactly right to assembly line workers, bankers and utility companies is just plain silly and you know it. The science of meteorology has literally saved thousands of lives in the last 100 years. If you look back at the fatality rates of tornadoes and hurricanes from 1900 to 1960, it is unbelievably high compared to after 1960. Without the development of doppler radar and the computer models that go into predicting storm tracks, there were countless people that lived in an era without that research and technology that didn't have a chance. Politicians and public servants have endlessly credited meteorologists for providing ample warnings to their cities. You know what about Katrina? It was forecast to hit New Orleans FIVE days in advance. Look it up. It's an absolute fact. That storm originated as a harmless cluster of thunderstorms in the Caribbean. Our computer models developed by meteorologists with enless amounts of research hours at major universities calculated those harmless thunderstorms over 1000 miles away would develop into one of the most powerful hurricanes of the 20th century AND hit the Louisiana coast a week in advance. Give me a break with your assembly line worker analogy and we should be fired or take a pay cut.

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      Becka 3 years ago

      Are YOU a complex entity? Does the world fully understand you, your behavior, your thinking, your decision-making processes? Are you predictable - could I 'forecast' YOU? The answer - absolutely - and with better than 80% accuracy. In writing my response yesterday, I predicted (before you even saw it - so I was predicting 'the future') that you, in all your human complexity, would engage in minimal cognitive processing, employ a series of reflexive heuristics, derive a few faulty assumptions, and arrive at the erroneous conclusion that I am a statistician. I am not - nor did I claim to be - yet I did predict you, in all your human complexity, with (dare I say) 100% accuracy. I made a second prediction related to this first one in which you would attempt to disparage the field of statistics (because you wrongly concluded that was my field) but that you would tread lightly at dismissing a field that makes your field possible - 'statographer' seems pretty fluffy. So far, I'm 2 for 2. By this point, and based on the text above, you might be tempted to reach the conclusion that I am a cognitive scientist - I am not but I have a respectable handle on that field as well (for an outsider). What I actually do is of little consequence to this discussion but attempting to trivialize my field is dangerous ground for you because your entire original position (selective attention, miscommunication, faulty listening) stems from the broad area in which I am trained.

      You indicate that we do not hold accountable those scientists working in various fields - while you focus on medicine specifically, the enterprise works the same in all fields. You state that cancer researchers continually fail but they and their universities are yet refunded, so by leap of logic, those scientist are not held accountable for their accuracy/inaccuracy. This is simply false and misinformed. Rejection rates in most top-tier scientific journals in most fields run from the mid-80% to 90% range. Therefore, a solid history of high-quality publications requires accuracy on that order. Grant funding for scientific research is tight - currently hovering around 8%-12% in many STEM fields. Being accurate only 80% of the time would yield few publications and without those publications, grant funding is simply not going to happen. What does this mean in terms of accountability for all those scientists and researchers you claim are continually failing? No pubs = no grants = no funding = no tenure = no promotion = out of job. You see, shoddy work that results in an 80% accuracy rate gets you fired (i.e., has consequences) everywhere, except meteorography.

      You seem stuck on two major issues (in both this discussion and in your responses to previous posters). First, nobody - not a single person - has requested/demanded/insinuated that accuracy in your field achieves 100% - yet you continue to defend the position that such demands (that have never been levied) are impossible. The issue regarding accuracy is that 80% is not that great and that most people would be in a serious state of employment trouble if that was the best they could muster. Second, nobody - again, not a single person - has suggested that atmospheric science is not a real or worthwhile endeavor. Yet, you continually try to convince everyone that atmospheric science is as legitimate as other sciences (the preaching to the choir colloquialism comes to mind). To suggest that people think atmospheric science is useless is nothing more than red herring. Nobody claims that obstetrics is useless but obstetricians have terrible accuracy in predicting delivery dates - they are, however, doing a good job of getting babies birthed and keeping them alive.

      The issue, the discrediting, the disparaging is not directed at atmospheric scientists - it is directed at you (not you personally but the collective 'you'), the TV weatherman. Now I admit, I have no further information about you aside from your 25-year career on TV and radio and (as shown in my opening rebuttal) assumptions are a dangerous thing. That said, your credentials, as they appear here, indicate nothing about your important work at NOAA, NWS, etc., or your groundbreaking research during your time as a scientist at some university or center. Those absent credentials aside, you seem perfectly willing to use collective terms like "our models" and "we save lives" to insinuate that the important scientific work and the millions of lives saved is somehow the product of your (the personal YOU here) effort - it may be but that is not made clear in the information you provide.

      Where people take issue is with the TV weatherman who bears no accountability tied to accuracy - not the atmospheric scientist who readily admits to uncertainty. The metric of evaluation for a TV weatherman is nothing more than viewer trust, viewer perceptions of credibility, and likeability. Accuracy only enters the picture indirectly. You can be terrible in terms of accuracy, but as long as you get the viewers to like you and continue to watch your station, you stay employed/compensated. This is what irks people about meteorographers. The general disdain and attacking is further motivated by the vehemence with which the TV weatherman reports (reads) the uncertainty provided by those other meteorologists who actually work as atmospheric scientists. The final nail for most folks is (and you are guilty of this in your own writing) the taking credit when you are lucky enough to get it right but the shifting of responsibility when the prediction you make on the evening news is completely wrong.

      The 'errors' we simpletons make (selective attention, etc.) that leads us to believe that you the TV weatherperson always gets it wrong are just as active and alive in you. You read what the scientists say, what their (the scientists') models predict, and you begin interpreting for your TV audience (maybe you are dumbing it down for us?). You, the TV weatherperson are fallible - quite a bit actually - in your interpretation of what the science says. Then, you highlight what will attract and keep viewers and go on air to deliver your interpretation of the science with unyielding certainty - remember, you have to be believable to stay employed.

      I have not attacked atmospheric science (quite the opposite). I have challenged the meteorographer - the TV weatherperson. I have challenged their ability, accuracy, accountability, and, more generally, need. I agree, exact prediction at any given moment is difficult but the TV weatherperson doesn't even attempt such rigor. Yet in such uncertainty, the TV weatherperson is perfectly happy making claims in the 'distant future' in the form of 'extended outlooks,' '7-day forecasts,' and the '10-day forecast' (the triple-dog-dare of meteorography). Why not the '12-month accuweather prediction'? I have zero training in TV weatherpersonology but let's give it a shot.

      Starting in Feb, we can expect colder temperatures and a reasonable chance of snow. It is likely we will see a few days of severe weather. Things get better in March with temps rising slightly but the occasional cold day will make a sporadic return. Throughout April/May, temps will continue to warm us up and snow will transition to rain with heavy precipitation possible at times. We'll see a break from all this around June with some nice weather but then we'll be turning on the heat and humidity around July. Things will continue to be warm through August but with slightly less humidity. As we roll into September and October, prepare for a drop in temps that will continue to drop into November/December bringing some snow and a high chance of nighttime lows below freezing. As we get through December into January, look for a big increase in our chance of snow, with ice, and blistering cold possible. Bundle up because those cold temps will likely continue through February.

      You see - while atmospheric science is important, meteorography (the TV weatherperson) is simply not that complicated and under such ambiguity/vagueness, prediction accuracy should be much higher than a paltry 80%.

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      Becka 3 years ago

      Hi - me again in need of a very quick clarification. Did you work at WISC Channel 3 in Madison as the morning weatherman circa 2008? If so, you already know why I'm asking.

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      3 years ago

      Go by a digital weather meter. Those are not accurate either. Who in the heck can predict where a rain cloud or wind will deviate and to what direction. I think people like David Letterman, and a few others with no Meteorologist training gave news a bad name, decades ago.

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      ugh 3 years ago

      this author is getting pretty riled up to these comments...

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      Rayray 3 years ago

      I just stumbled across this today and found it very interesting.

      As for 'Becka', you are a troll. Please go kill yourself.

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      Becka 3 years ago

      Yup - just trolling - public blogs are open for discussion and debate. You post it - you defend it - because, in your mind, you were important enough to post it. Apparently the concept of debate is foreign to many.

      As for killing myself "Rayray," if I wasn't as cool as you (so cool that I nicknamed myself my own name twice - I know - easier to spell correctly), I might think about it. Of course you would be of interest when they found me with my browser left open on this page focused on your instructions (think man think).

      I'm not riled, I just really dislike people who don't/won't think for a moment before spewing excrement. Think then speak, not speak then speak some more and save the thinking for that stuff you pick out of your belly button every day. Just develop a backbone folks - don't take everything at face value - think for a moment. I promise it doesn't hurt.

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      Ron 3 years ago

      take a look at the weather channels weather on the 8s. 3 times during that forecast they tell you the high temperature of the day. Three times the temperature is different

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      cj 3 years ago

      OK I understand meteorologist don't get it right all the time and don't expect you too. What pisses me off is for example, I live in Oklahoma City and since the 21st of April (a week ago) they have been talking about a storm moving this way that would be here Saturday the 26th. They were talking about how bad it was all week saying severe storms and severe tornadoes were likely every day. Well Saturday got here and guess what? We barely got a sprinkle, then Sunday morning was supposed to be bad guess what? Nothing! All I'm saying is why even hype people up and freak them out? A week is a long way to predict something. That is my biggest complaint. Just don't even say anything til it's a couple days out.

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      Vicki 3 years ago

      One of the really terrific screwups was Hurricane Rita. Oh it's going to be horrific. Stock up on water gas. So like fools we all did not a drop of rain....

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      Lakewrong 2 years ago

      Meteorologist

      (n.) a sensationalist in scientist's clothing with a propensity for being incorrect while looking good on camera.

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      Becka 2 years ago

      Seems the tide has turned - "sensationalist" and "screwup" about nails it.. The TV meteographer is a useless invention of our media. Go away now meteorograhpher - shoo fly shoo.

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      Nicole G. 2 years ago

      To the author:

      Just wanted to say I really appreciate this article. It is a fantastic perspective. I, too, am a meteorologist who works in the U.S. military, so I totally get it. It's amazing how I can brief a General that there is a tropical disturbance developing 200 miles off the coast of one of his mission sites, and it's something that we'll be monitoring over the next several days, but he hears that a Category 5 Hurricane is going to destroy that location!

      Don't let the negative comments get you down, as others just don't understand the science behind weather nor all that actually goes into making a forecast. Thanks for what you do and for paving the way for people like me.

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      Al 2 years ago

      For 7 days it's been overcast in so cal but all the weather peeps keep showing a ball of sunshine when the sun has clearly been covered by clouds. Talk about screwing up the forecast!

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      Jeff Smith 2 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      Al:

      Yes, without looking at exactly what's going on, what you're experiencing is more than likely a stubborn marine layer. It is one of the most difficult things in meteorology to forecast. It's a lower layer of morning clouds (fog) that typically forms, usually burning off by late morning or midday. If there is even just one minor variable that can literally be undetectable with our modern technology (say, very subtle vertical wind currents), then that marine layer will not burn off and it stays cloudy the rest of the day instead of turning sunny.

      I'll ask you one thing: If you added up the last 10 forecasts you observed from your "weather peeps", how many of them were accurate? I appreciate you reading the article and your input, but the point of the article wasn't to chime in with one observation how the forecast went wrong.

      There were two main points: the first one was a classic example pointed out by the military meteorologist Nicole in the comment before yours. She tells him exactly what she sees, yet the General comes back with a completely different viewpoint. MISPERCEPTION.

      The other point was yes, meteorologists get it wrong. But that's all people seem to remember. I'll still stand by my observation that a meteorologist could nail a very specific forecast for 7 straight days and nothing is absorbed by the public consciousness. The 8th day the forecast is off, and the "why do these weather people 'always' get it wrong" comments come pouring in.

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      Jeff Smith 2 years ago from Prairie du Sac, WI

      To Nicole:

      THANK YOU for your post! (I'd give you a big hug if I could). You have come to the rescue with a supportive reply, but more importantly have provided an intelligent viewpoint from another meteorologist that exactly explains my point and hopefully others will finally understand. I'm with you Nicole, although it's a little scary when a General in the military doesn't use common sense and actually listen to his meteorologist who is trying her best to provide helpful and accurate information.

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      Becka 2 years ago

      That's just not true. You claim that 'we' all focus on the one time you get it wrong but we don't. Rather, you are focusing on the one or two comments that tell you that you get it right ignoring the 4-5 comments telling you how you get it wrong. You're the victim of your own defense man. When you get it wrong 270/365 times, that is a pattern of weak success. Just like one supporting email out of 5 isn't that great either. Back to your original sports metaphors, we exalt a baseball player that can hit .400 because he is honest about how hard it is to hit .400. We just don't get thrilled about batting .167 - unless it's Uecker - because he was just damn likeable. Stop trying to win this one. You have to be likeable and your past would suggest likeable, for you, is "just a bit outside".

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      Ben 2 years ago

      Becka, you write beautifully and I think you should write an article of your own. I have no doubt it will make it's way to news outlets. As for this article and meteorologists in general, there's nothing wrong with 80% accuracy as long as we the people are reminded that the uncertainty is there. We live in a country where a company was sued for not marking a coffee cup as a hot beverage, I think the local weatherman is on borrowed time. Furthermore, I would love to request that everyone do one simple thing before watching your local weather in the morning. Go outside and look up at the sky. Guess what you believe the forecast for the day will be and then watch the weather forecast for the day. If your guess matches the weather man 4 out of 5 days that work week congratulations, you've found a new profession.

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      Avebon 2 years ago

      I just get so tired of our weatherman getting all frothed about impending bad weather, or even rain, and then it bypasses us . . . all the time. Weather forecasting is the only profession where you can get it wrong 50% of the time and still keep your job!

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      Marrio pacheco 17 months ago

      Psychics , or meteorologists, are 90 percent wrong in predicting the weather in grand junction. This is because they are unfamiliar with weather in our area and only reley on computers like most phsycics, I mean meteorologists. I can. Predict better then you can by sticking my head out of the window then your computer programs. Meteorologists used to calculate weather without computers and were more accurate locally with local knowledge of wheather patterns. Now a days its a retard who repeats what a computer tells them to say.

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