In a world where selling a weather forecast seems nearly as important as getting it correct, it appears as though some forecasters are going to extremes to sell ratings. And, just by chance, forecast the weather.
Are clicks and views more important that getting it right and honestly informing the public?
Why do some forecasters offer an end of the world headline to gain page views, only to water down their prediction in every following paragraph?
A weather forecaster last week issued a “Make Peace With Your God” forecast about a possible snowstorm that could affect the East Coast on March 6-7.
Notice I said, “possible” and “could.”
AccuWeather blared the headline, “Mid-Atlantic Major Snow Potential for Next Week” on Wednesday, a full week ahead of the possible storm.
Computer users across the country clicked at that one, no doubt.
Was the advance warning needed to serve the public or garner increased page hits instead?
AccuWeather warms of a low pressure system crossing the country and bombing out into a huge nor’easter once it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
Sounds terrible doesn’t it?
However, low pressure systems cross the country all winter long. They're greated by warmer-than-land ocean waters and can develop into storms along the East Coast.
That seems fairly normal, doesn't it? It's almost as common as snow in Bufflao, right?
After issuing a dire warning, AccuWeather delivers the familiar two-track analysis that seems to work for almost every winter storm that crosses the country. If it tracks up the coast, we get hammered. If it goes out to sea, we don’t.
Ok, that seems like a 50-50 chance for a so-called major snowstorm.
But what happens if the storms speeds up and quickly moves across the area. Fast-moving storms don’t drop nearly enough snow as ones that crawl along and deliver a 24-hour snowfall.
Are we down to one-in-three odds now?
What happens if the storm reaches the coast, but doesn’t bomb out?
In March, cold air is critical to creating an environment capable of dropping a few flakes let alone a few inches for a snowstorm. What happens if the storm fails to pull down enough cold air to make snow?
Just remember how many times a once-promising storm has failed to become the giant everyone had predicted they’d become just a few days earlier. And it could happen again.
Isn’t it a little too early to say “Major Snow Potential” if at best it’s a 50-50 or a one-in-four chance?
While AccuWeather was hinting at a major snow storm, other weather models still weren’t so sure. Neither were they in complete agreement with each other.
While the headline sounds like AccuWeather is predicting another snowmageddon, a few paragraphs down the weather forecaster says “States on the bubble for a major storm or a near-miss include Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia.”
Here is breaking news: It snows in Massachusetts, upstate New York and in the mountains of Pennsylvania in March.
So what's the all of the fuss about then?
I guess if you mention enough states, sooner or later one of them will get a snowstorm and you will look like a forecasting hero.
But then even further down, AccuWeather says the storm is, “not worth altering plans, but something to keep an eye on.”
In the summer, shouldn’t we “keep and eye on” the potential for severe thunderstorms, an approaching hurricane or tornadoes?
So should we blare headlines that read “Severe thunderstorm potential” every week and see if it pans out in a few days?
I don’t think so.
Interestingly enough, while AccuWeather was calling for major snow potential for March 6 on one page, the local weather page predicted temperatures to be up near 48 degrees on the same day.
The last time I looked, it doesn’t snow too much when the temperature is 2 degrees shy of 50.
So what do you think?
At least NBC40’s Dan Skeldon has been warning us honestly. For the past several days he has suggested the potential for a snow event on March 6-7. No hype. No end of the world stuff. Just the facts.
Skeldon has mentioned the possibility because one of several scenarios could play out. However, the rest of the scenarios could deliver just rain to South Jersey instead.
Seems like he is giving us the weather without the hype.
Isn’t that the way it used to be?
Isn’t that the way is should be?
No rain, rejoice
Alright South Jersey weather fans, it’s time to rejoice through a few days of chilly sunshine before the next storm takes aim at us.
For the first time since the last weekend in January, we are going to enjoy a dry Saturday and Sunday combination.
It rained on both days of Super Bowl weekend, according to the Weather Channel.
Since then, it has rained or snowed on one of the two weekend days. If it didn’t rain on Saturday, it rained on Sunday.
Last week, Saturday, Feb. 23 was a miserable damp and dreary day. Sunday was nice.
Seems like forever since we’ve had two good days of sun on a weekend.
Well, things are about to change.
Look for temperatures on Friday, March 1 to reach near a seasonable 50 degrees under sunny skies. Saturday will cool down a little bit with highs only reaching the mid-40s on Saturday and the lower 40s on Sunday.
However, no precipitation is in sight until Wednesday. Then we could get snow, rain or both.
We will have to see.
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