Blowing The Forecast

This entry has been edited because, it has been pointed out, most of the state was properly forecast by me… just not the city where the station sits.

I went to work Sunday night, handling the forecasting details on-the-air. A storm was brewing.

Though my call was significantly below the Weather Service and was the lowest snow prediction in the state (as usual), the forecast busted on parts of the shoreline&#185. Thankfully, my low number call was good for most of inland Connecticut.

After two hours of sleet and mixed precipitation, New Haven had six straight hours of snow at the airport… but no accumulation. The ground was too warm or too wet and the snow was already close to melting as it approached the surface.

Schools were closed. People cancelled appointments. There had been snow in the sky, but without impact.

Here’s part of an email I received:

I’ve been watching WTNH more years than I care to remember. I think the habit you have of hyping a storm coming our way is unacceptable. I’m at the point now where if I watch the weather forecast and you are the weather forecaster, I can rest assured it won’t happen. May I make a suggestion, refrain from the excitement you seem to possess, when a storm is headed our way make sure you are reasonably correct before you announce the worst scenario. With all your modern equipment you are no more correct than my father was when he went outside and looked up at the sky.

My first words at 11:00 PM were, “My wife asked me not to scare everyone,” which is what I tried to do. Of course with the Weather Service’s “HEAVY SNOW WARNING” in effect, it was tough to avoid.

Yesterday, I went on the air and apologized. I don’t know if it will make the viewers feel better. It helps me.

Bill Evans from WABC was quoted in the NY Daily News today:

“I feel like I let the public down. We didn’t get it right. At the same time, we worked as hard as we could to get it right.”

Exactly, though Bill’s bust was orders of magnitude bigger than mine.

It’s not just the forecast was wrong. It’s that it was wrong in spite of doing everything we could do to get it right. Going back, I probably would have made the same forecast. In fact, a meteorologist friend was giving me reasons to raise the numbers just before air time (I resisted).

This is the most frustrating part of what is normally a fun job. I want people to trust me. No one wants to drop the ball. No one wants to get those emails. No one wants to be quoted in an article, as Bill Evans was, titled “Now that was a flaky weather forecast

&#185 – The rest of the state’s forecast – covering 90% of the landmass and around 75% of the populace, was accurate.

12 thoughts on “Blowing The Forecast”

  1. Hi Geoff, Just wanted to say I am glad the forecast was off, it was a pleasant surprise for me πŸ™‚ We live on the shoreline & don’t care for the snow – we would be happy with as little as possible.

    Some folks have nothing better to do then give you a hard time about an off forecast. Everyone had it wrong, big deal. These things happen, and I am sure all the kids who got off from school were very happy as well.

    Thanks for all your hardwork, some of us do appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  2. Here’s the part no one seems to understand: “Everyone had it wrong, big deal.”

    NO! I’m asking people to trust me and believe what I say and, maybe, if they use me instead of others, they’ll get a better forecast.

    This really wasn’t put up to fish for compliments.

  3. Geoff,

    It’s easy for people to email you when your forecast is off but I hope they will at least email you when you get it right as well. Don’t let it bother you, you had the most accurate forecast on TV Sunday night. If I remember correctly, while everyone else was prediction 4″-8″ along the shoreline you predicted about 1″-3″ which was pretty accurate based on the complexity of predicting a Noreaster. I remember turning to my wife and telling her my disappointment that the numbers were lower than earlier in the day. Based upon the fact that you had the “guts” to go against what everyone else was predicting I commend you! Keep up the good work, your not mother nature so you will never be 100% accurate. Maybe you should send the angry emailers a surface map and let them try to decipher it……….

  4. Again, the point is, I claim to be able to predict the future. People are entitled to kvetch when I can’t.

    The difficulty of my job is no one’s problem but mine.

  5. Geoff—— I am “engrossed”……lol……should i go out and shop AGAIN for this next storm???????????? lol…..kidding

    John Calandrella

    Branford, Ct

  6. I give Geoff a pass on the difficulty of shoreline CT forecasts…and Dr. Mel too, who happens to live directly on the shore. I mean, we have a top-notch weather guy living right in the thick of it, and it still proves to be a tricky call most of the time.

    It’s kinda like when your mechanic’s car breaks down – you have to figure it must really be broken.

  7. I live in New Milford. I watched the forecast and thought “Wow, Geoff is predicting a bunch less than everyone else” Went to bed expecting schools to be closed and that I was going to get to work from home on Monday. Woke up at 6am and the snow had already stopped and the roads were just wet blacktop. My first thought was “Wow – Geoff was right – we didn’t get much at all”. My second thought was “Crap! Now I have to actually GO to work!” πŸ™‚ Good job, Geoff!

  8. Geoff,

    As an incredibly frustrated snow lover living in the absolutely wrong place for snow, Stratford, you get a pass in my book. I was wildly disappointed Monday morning. It just didn’t happen and I understand why. After reading the NWS forecast discussions and watching and reading everything about the storm everyone kept saying, vertical columm cooling…heavy snow…1-2″ per hour..blah blah blah…That warm air aloft has been killing snow all year for us on the shoreline. Its just that kind of winter. You’ll get’em next time.

  9. You didn’t let us down. We love watching you! My daughter Emma (you met her at the SMA walk in Hamden last year) watches you all the time. And I think she is still after your job! Last Friday the sky was dark and there were clouds in it. Emma asked if they were storm clouds or rain clouds. She wanted me to call you and ask you!

    Keep up the good work!


  10. Geoff, you did your best. That’s all I need in a weatherman. Sure, I prepared for the worst and it didn’t happen. But guess what–LIFE GOES ON! Keep on doing a great job!

  11. Geoff,

    Your predictions are right on the money! I have said it before and will say it again and again, that your predictions are much more accurate for our region than anybody else due to your experience here! The fact that the “5 mile” coastal band had different weather shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody! It’s not new. And after this storm, every weatherperson apologized, but for what?!?! The storm looked more lethal than it was in some areas… SO WHAT!!! And the fact that thousands of people rush the stores for bread and milk and other “vital” supplies. It is not 1807 or 1907. The roads will be completely clear and driveable within 12-24 hours [thousands of snow plows and chemical ice melting agents]. It appears that nobody keeps food in the cabinet or fridge now-a-days. The only reason that all of the schools are being more cautious is after Waterbury busses got stuck recently in a breif rain/ice storm, nobody wants to explain to angry parents why the kids weren’t promptly home. So I ask of you Geoff; please DON’T apologize for this one!!! You said it would snow at my house and it did. The roads were slick and snow-covered prior to being plowed, and the kids stayed home as they should’ve. I didn’t rush to the grocery store as I have enough food to “survive” on my shelf. And god forbid that I was dying of starvation after 12 hours, I would find a way to walk the 2 miles down to the store… Keep up the great work and forgive me for my tirade.

  12. Geoff,

    Out of all the meteorologists in Connecticut and throughout the country, you are the least to hype anything up. The only time I’ve seen you hype a situation up is when it’s necessary. It’s New England and the storms that impact the region are similar to hurricanes even in the winter. We are at the influnce of the ocean and the land, temperature and track are always challenged. It’s funny because the days you don’t hype up a storm you will get the same negative feedback. I’m sure you know that already, just thought I would remind you. Could be worse, I’ve seen NWS statements that involve losing your life in a blizzard. Now that’s how you build a fan base.

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