Weather forecasts and, especially, storm warnings have become suprisingly accurate in recent years. Yet, the perception among so much of the public is, “they never get it right.” This was brought home yesterday evening when I found a web site with an AccuWeather map forecasting heavy snow (for what would become the NYC blizzard) next to a poll asking, “how much do you think we’ll get?”
Here are the results:
In spite of a blizzard warning and forecasts of 60 mph wind gusts and more than a foot of snow, more than half of the voters thought less than a foot of snow would fall. There is a news story out today alleging (it offered no proof, so I am not linking to it) that NYC city hall did not believe the forecasts.
Think of all of the hassle and heartache that could have been avoided had everyone been prepared.
This is why I wrote Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather. It tells the remarkable story of how everything from the worst Category 5 hurricanes to F-5 tornadoes and how we have learned to save lives and property. I’m hoping that by telling this amazing story we can save even more lives because the warnings are taken more seriously. I’m hoping someone buys a copy for Mayor Bloomberg.