What am I Missing?

Here is yet another complaint about meteorologists missing the forecast of the heavy snow and power failures pertaining to the pre-Halloween weekend snow storm. This from today’s Wall Street Journal

America is facing a serious experts crisis. The problem is: Our homegrown experts are incompetent and in many cases flat-out dumb. If things don’t improve soon, we may have to loosen our immigration policy and allow foreign-born experts to enter the country from Europe, Asia and Mexico, even if they are experts on things we don’t really care about. That’s how serious the experts crisis has become.

I realized this last weekend when I motored down to the nation’s capital to see my daughter. The day before I left, the experts assured me that while a light “dusting” of snow might await me when I returned to suburban New York, it wasn’t anything to worry about. Monday morning I came home to find trees down everywhere, wires ripped out of the side of my house, no electricity, no cable, no phone, no heat and a ton of snow waiting to be shoveled.

Thanks, weather experts! Right on the money with that one!


While I have no way of knowing which forecaster he was listening to (he doesn’t say), the forecasts for last weekend’s snow and subsequent power failures were excellent. Here is a screen capture from this very blog from well before the snow started falling (note the date and time):

I’m simply astonished that people keep blaming meteorologists when we get it right (as we usually do these days). Sincere question: What am I missing or not understanding? Feel free to comment.

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5 thoughts on “What am I Missing?

  1. Mike, glad to see your comments posted in response to Joe Queenan's article about the need for experts… If there are experts worth listening to, surely it is our weather experts!! Hope you sell lots and lots of books and hopefully dispel some of the ignorance about the wonderful weather information we have available 24/7, especially for severe weather.

  2. Mike,

    I certainly agree with the premise of your post, however do you watch much TV weather (local stations) when you're traveling? And how about the folks "reading" the forecast on the radio? I do, and I usually walk away unimpressed. I typically have a better handle on the weather via my own internet scan every morning.

    Based on my experience doing the above, I can see why a lot of people would think that there is an expert shortage in the weather department.

  3. Agree with you about radio.

    I do try to catch the local TV weather as I travel. My impression is that it is too much the similarity these days — the entire weathercast is built around their graphics system — rather than the graphics system conforming to what the meteorologist wants to do.

    That said, I do not detect a lack of severe weather competence and I especially watch when I happen to be in a given city in a potential major weather situation. I did get to thinking that TV weather in NYC is especially weak and that might have been the have the source of his poor forecast.

    However, to broaden it to all meteorologists is taking the point way too far.

  4. Mike –

    While private forecasting may have nailed the storm a week in advance, the NWS forecasts were TERRIBLE. As of a day or two before the storm, they were still predicting RAIN.

    So the idea that the public feels the forecasts were bad is understandable. The most public, commonly considered forecast blew it. And they shouldn't have.

  5. @8:40. I wasn't aware of that. AccuWeather nailed it several days out.

    This blog, and others, were warning of "massive" and "major" power failures due to the leaves being on the trees and the heavy wet snows. AccuWeather.com was explicitly warning of power failures as early as Thursday.

    Thanks for letting me know.