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.