I’ve Seen This Storm Before

An admission. Other meteorologists remember storm details vividly. Not me. Storms are transients. I try not to get too attached.

I used to be astounded by Dr. Mel’s ability in this regard. He remembered individual storms the way Pete Rose remembers individual pitches.

It’s a skill set I don’t have.

There are a few memorable exceptions. Hurricanes and tornadoes, obviously, qualify. So too do major forecast busts. I have a little experience with those too.

The weather tonight reminds me of a particularly painful forecast disaster. My best recollection says this storm’s doppelganger hit in the mid-80s. It was snow. The rudimentary models of that era did a poor job understanding its complex dynamics.

I sat on the air at WTNH and hour-after-hour pointed to the radar, said I could see the storm’s caboose and that it would be gone within the next few hours. I said that through eight or nine inches of additional snow!

It still makes me cringe.

It still makes Helaine cringe. She had to console me.

Viewers were brutal afterward. They wouldn’t forgive easily. For months, no matter where I went I got called on that forecast! It took over a year to for me to remove that one storm’s stench.

As with our current system, this one was obviously moving east into the Atlantic. What wasn’t as obvious was an upper low to the west which sucked moisture back from the ocean.

Sure the low’s center was moving away, but it made no difference. It’s influence was increasing. That more than compensated for its reduced proximity.

It’s a rare scenario you might not see for a decade or more. I still get the heebie jeebies thinking about it.

Glad not to make that mistake again tonight.

2 thoughts on “I’ve Seen This Storm Before”

  1. I am continually stunned by the heat meteorologists take from the public, a public that refuses to accept the fact that weather prediction is not like TV programming. They have no appreciation for complex, dynamic systems. This is why every nutcase and their mother speaks as an expert in their denial of climate change. Fools.

  2. Everyone screws up once in a while and if you really like screwing up meteorology is a great profession for you. Especially in New England.
    It’s like the old saying about NE weather; if you don’t like it wait a minute.
    Reminds me of one huge weather screw up my mom made decades ago. I was in Hartford, meeting her for lunch and then a day of shopping and dinner (that’s when there were stores to shop in downtown; Sage Allen, G Fox). It started raining and we took shelter in the rotunda of the Trvellers building. WE waited the rain out. One moment mt mom looked up and said ‘It looks like the rain is getting lighter’. A second later the skies opened to a tropical downpour that lasted another 20 minutes or so. My response was something along the lines of ‘Good one mom.’. She never really lived that one down either. Every now and then she’d say something and I’d say ‘Yeah and the rain is getting lighter.’ and we’d both laugh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *