[Opinion] Why You Need To Chill Out About A Bust Weather Forecast
Lately, the weather has everyone talking. But they're mostly talking about how the forecasted winter storm didn't happen for Amarillo. At the last moment, the storm system shifted south delivering record snowfall to Lubbock but nothing for Amarillo. And there are A LOT of angry people on social media taking aim at our local meteorologists.
You owe the great community a apology. You guys do this all the time. I will never believe you or your team again. -Tom T.
Welp...I want to apply [to be a meteorologist]. Because ya'll are horrible at predicting the weather and still keep your job... I'm in. Booo this weather station...get off the stage...horrible...just horrible...check out that blizzard outside. -VinnieC. S.
It didn't matter which tv station social media account you checked, there were some downright hateful people on there. Ok, I get you are upset the forecast turned out to be wrong, but why be so hateful?
We dodged a winter bullet and you didn't have to deal with poor road conditions, power outages, and everything to comes along with bad winter weather. Yeah, it sucks the forecast turned out to be a bust but ask yourself, 'did you suffer because of it?'
Come on people! No one was hurt or died because the forecast was wrong! I will digress before I get any more worked up over stupid social media commentary.
Back to the weather forecast, what happened? Let me start with full disclosure. I am a meteorologist myself, having studied Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University and I was on television for about five years doing the weather before I fell into radio. On the side, I also storm chase and weather spot for the National Weather Service's SKYWARN program as well as report to two local television stations.
Yes, I do side with the local meteorologists with their forecast, but I am really siding with common sense about the weather.
Ok, now that is out of the way, let me continue. What happened to the forecast and why did we go from a major storm in the works to nothing? The answer is simple. The storm shifted.
Weather systems do this all the time. In preparing a forecast, meteorologists use a large collection of weather models to gather forecast data. You take all of those models and you come up with the best average among them. Some models agree with each other, some go way off the grid. You take the ones in agreement (or close to) and you build a forecast from there.
The models take current conditions all over the world and do their best to predict the storm movement. But here is the thing, mother nature is unpredictable. You can take the best-educated scientists, the biggest and baddest computers, and you still can't guarantee that mother nature is going to do exactly what you expect.
Weather prediction is not a perfect science but you have to admit that the meteorologists do a pretty damn good job a majority of the time. Just take a moment and think about how far weather forecasting has come. It wasn't that long ago we didn't have a Doppler radar, no satellite images, no internet connection to see what the weather was a few hours ahead of us.
Here's a fun fact: the first time meteorologists used "radar" on television, it was a military surplus aircraft radar unit that they tuned to see precipitation slightly better. I am pretty sure if you were to ask anyone else who is a professional in the science community that they would agree fully.
Just remember this before you go off the deep end on social media about a bad weather forecast. No one complains when the majority of the time the forecast is spot on. No one died because the snow didn't come, and at the worst, you were prepared in case it did.
Chill out people.