Thursday, January 29, 2015

StormWatch '15

Just some random thoughts on this stormy week...

Most forecasters had the storm forming closer to the east coast.  It actually blew up about ninety miles away from the expected location.  New York and Philadelphia were spared major blizzard conditions.  New England got hammered.

I was listening to KYW radio on my way back from a Monday assignment for Newswatch 16.  Philadelphia's mayor was sounding the alert.  I can't blame him.  Based on the forecast, it was the right thing to do.

Speaking of radio, KYW in Philadelphia and WCBS in New York did an outstanding job.  Radio is an outstanding medium in a storm.  Unfortunately, very few operators get that.

A National Weather Service forecaster in the New York metropolitan area apologized for a blown forecast.  Hey, he was only 90 miles off.  That's not bad.  The CBS TV overnight news got reaction from another meteorologist.  He said there was no need to apologize.  The second meteorologist brought up those "cones of probability" we see during hurricane season.  We make allowances for hurricanes to wobble.  Winter storms don't get that.

The National Weather Service is in the process of upgrading its computers, and therefore, its forecasting.  What took them so long?

I'll let in you on my way of thinking, which has served me well over the years.  I'm always wary of those forecasts that depend on a number of factors to come together to form a mega event.  For example,   a low has to come up with the coast, merge with another low, get a shot of cold air, suck in some moisture, have the jet stream steer it to the proper location...  You know where I'm going.  There are a lot of times, the scenarios are on the money.  But then again...

I'm not sure if the real problem was the blown forecast, or the endless media hype?