I have my name ‘forward searched.’ If a new entry comes on the Internet, or gets published in a newspaper, and if Google sees it (and they see everything) , they send me an email. I get asked for quotes about the weather all the time and I like to see what people write.
A few minutes ago, Google sent me a link. They’d found a new webpage with my name on it.
The link led to a site where there is an argument going on about me. How absolutely weird¹. How many other problems must you solve before you get to me on life’s giant to-do list?
The combatants are on a site populated by weather lovers. By and large, these people like active weather and are disappointed when the forecast doesn’t follow. What they do is called ‘wishcasting’.
I think most forecasters overforecast snow. My forecasts tend to be conservative. On a seasonal basis, I would guess I forecast fewer inches of snow than any other meteorologist in Connecticut. No one gets them all. My forecasts are pretty accurate.
The link led directly to a post ridiculing my forecast. I learned a long time ago you don’t do that until AFTER the event.
Another poster added:
Followed by the closer:
This is one of the saddest things ive seen come out of that weather center
Brad is my friend. I’m sure I’ve said worse about him. No foul.
You know, it wasn’t too long ago this stuff would have bothered me. I’m on TV. I understand people will judge me.
Some people did come to my defense. They’ll be receiving something extra for Christmas.
Here’s the payoff:
Ah, sweet revenge.
Truth is, any forecast can be a bust – even one prepared with all due diligence. That’s why I sweat them all out. It’s the most nerve wracking part of my job.
Though one poster accused me of using a single computer model out of the box, I put a lot of thought into what I finally forecast and use a lot of tools in getting there. There are charts and maps and columns of numbers from multiple computer models.
I’m a math geek. I love this stuff.
I am ultimately responsible. It’s my decision… my voice… not some suite of models and simulations. I apologize when wrong. Thankfully, not often enough that the guy who said I’d blame the models would have ever seen me do it.
I’ll tell you a secret. This is real ‘inside baseball’ stuff and I won’t be offended if you’re bored.
My number one job is not accuracy. Please, don’t get me wrong, accuracy is important. If I’m not accurate, people will stop watching. It’s just not number one.
My main goal is to tell a useful and memorable story. I need to leave the audience with an understanding of what will happen. If I’ve done my job right, they will viscerally understand the weather to come.
A forecast is worthless if it can’t be conveyed to the audience in a useful fashion – no matter how accurate
And, in reality, there is no practical difference between 3″ or 5″ or 7″ of snow. They all have virtually the same effect. They are dealt with the very same way. With 3″ or 5″ or 7″ of snow, schools will close, plows will roll, traffic will snarl and nighttime activities will stop.
That’s why using graphics derived from a single model is OK, even when they differ slightly from my ideal forecast. I would rather use an effective tool to connect an idea to the viewer rather than throw it out, especially when its deviation from my thoughts is inconsequential.
¹ – I’m not going to publish the link and would rather it not be included in comments.