Since the NWS has ventured out into the social media realm, we tend to get WAY more questions and comments than back in the day. Many of these questions or comments are repeated so often that we figured we should try to demystify some of them. So here are the top 5 things people say to meteorologists and here are some facts to clear up the confusion. Enjoy!
1. "Wish I could get paid to be wrong all the time,"
- We know it may be hard to believe, but weather forecasting has come a LONG way over the past 20 years. Even over the past 5 years, substantial advances have been made to forecast dangerous weather. Now, can we predict exactly what is going to occur a week from now? Probably not, but we can give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect, especially over the next 48 hours. Predicting the exact location and timing of thunderstorms can be super tricky, but there are high resolution models being developed that will help us to do our job better.
- NWS Meteorologists are evaluated at their job just like anyone else. We are also are hardest critics. We despise when we don't get it right, probably even more than you do, especially if we were forecasting an epic powder day and it just didn't work out. During widespread severe weather events that devastate a large area, a team will be brought in to conduct a case study. This usually involves reviewing the actions of the individual forecasters as well as the teams of forecasters at each office. A lot is on the line for us from day-to-day so we really do try to get it right.
- A humorous side note on this:
2. "Don't like the weather? It's <city, state> just wait a few minutes and it will change."
- I am sure we have all heard this one once or twice, but the fact is that the weather constantly changes. Just how fast it changes is obviously variable from day-to-day and from location-to-location.
- The important part of this is to remember to look at the forecast from day-to-day, even frequently during the day if you have plans outdoors! Persistence (what happened the days before) doesn't always rule, even during the summer.
3. "It came out of nowhere" and "Unpredictable Weather Continues"
- This one really bothers meteorologists and weather forecasters alike. In this day and age where information is readily available from multiple sources: TV, radio, cell phones, internet, you name it! Accessibility to weather information is everywhere!
- Weather impacts us every single day. From what you choose to wear in the morning, how you feel, your commute to work, and maybe even what you decide to eat! I am definitely more in the mood for an iced latte on those hot summer days. Being proactive and following our weather updates, posts, and forecasts will help you be weather aware and also keep you, your family, and friends prepared and safe.
4. "What about the global warming now?"
- This comment always seems to pop up when we get the occasional snow in the Spring and Summer in the higher elevations. We get it. Someone is trying to be funny, but just because it’s snowing that doesn’t disprove the idea of global warming. Often these same people are curiously quiet when we have a heat wave ;-)
- Global warming is a part of a much larger topic of discussion, climate change, which is a separate topic from the day-to-day weather that affects you and me. Our expertise is in day to day weather forecasts, so we tend to shy away from questions about climate change projections. For more information on climate change check out this link.
5. "What channel are you on?"
- Actually that is funny you ask! In a way, we are on all of them! No really :) Here at the National Weather Service we have strong relationships with our media partners so we can all work together to get the message out about critical weather events. Whether it is the local radio host, your friendly tv meteorologist or column writers at the local newspaper, we work hard with them ahead of big events to share preparedness information.
- The media are especially important to us at the NWS because, although we can utilize social media, NOAA Weather Radio, and our website, we don’t have the access to the public via TV and the radio that our local media partners do. The relationships with our local media are crucial to what we do, and we appreciate them very much!
- Here is a great blog post by one of our local media partners about our working relationship.
We hope that you enjoyed this little walk through some of the things we hear on a day-to-day basis and that it gives you a little glimpse into what people say to us. Thanks for checking out the post and as always if you have questions go to our webpage, Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks!