Modern Weather Forecasting - Not Impressed

Joined
Jul 2, 2007
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5,295
Is it just me or is forecasting, at least the "local evening news" variety, no better and possibly even worse than decades ago? Remember in my youth watching the weather person on the news drawing isobars with a marker all over a map with fronts drawn on it and etc., and it seemed like the next few days behaved in accordance with her forecast. Now? The grease pens and wipe-clean map boards are gone and computer modeling and radar rules the day. But accuracy vs. yesteryear? Dubious. For example, two days ago the 5 day showed today in our region as clear and sunny with rain to arrive tomorrow and a wet forecast through about mid week next. Even last night on the local evening news the weather boy proclaimed sunny and clear through mid day then rain arriving in the afternoon, a change to the previous day's forecast of sunny all day. So, this morning... right now outside what do we have? Overcast and light rain. This pattern of forecasts missing the mark on rain/sun by half a day or more has prevailed since about last year around here. I suppose I'm keen to it by being a motorcyclist. Before that it was recreational flying (VFR only). So I've always paid attention to forecasts and METARS. Lately though it just seems more like a casino.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
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Central NY
Around here, it's not even about the weather any more. It's about hyping every little thing up to the point that it causes a mass panic so they can get more views and ratings.
 

JDW

Joined
Jan 8, 2014
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South
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Around here, it's not even about the weather any more. It's about hyping every little thing up to the point that it causes a mass panic so they can get more views and ratings.
Sounds like the Weather Channel .
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
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California
Originally Posted By: LoneRanger
Is it just me or is forecasting, at least the "local evening news" variety, no better and possibly even worse than decades ago?
I agree. Around here we don't get much rain. Occasionally when they do forecast rain and say we have a "15 percent chance" it usually pours. But if they say "70 - 80 percent chance" we have sunshine. Go figure.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
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7,256
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USA
Our local weather is pretty dead accurate. Even to the temperature of the day.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2012
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VA
Originally Posted By: JDW
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Around here, it's not even about the weather any more. It's about hyping every little thing up to the point that it causes a mass panic so they can get more views and ratings.
Sounds like the Weather Channel .
I call it weather drama. I no longer have The Weather Channel, and I don't miss it or the weather diva Jim Cantore with his goggles and two sizes too small shirts.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
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973
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Battle Creek, MI
Their forecast is only as good as the computer model they pick (there can be over a dozen) which is only as good as the programmer that wrote it. Forecasts from the meteorologist on TV is a rare occurrence nowadays. Only the old timers actually give a real forecast and even they rely on computer models. I typically look at all 3 local stations plus a few online and if they all agree then I have a little more confidence.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
15,203
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Central NY
Originally Posted By: JDW
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Around here, it's not even about the weather any more. It's about hyping every little thing up to the point that it causes a mass panic so they can get more views and ratings.
Sounds like the Weather Channel .
Weather channel has nothing on local "news" stations and "news"papers. They pretty much predict the end of the world if we are going to get more than a dusting. It's Syracuse ... the snowiest city in the country ... Then the problem is no one believes them, so when we do get a big snow event ... people are stuck in the streets and stranded because no one believed them.
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
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CA
In the LA area they rely on weather.gov forcasts until the rain is on top of them. I've followed weather.gov for several years, esp. the "forecast discussion" area (also a motorcycle rider). There has been turnover, so the olde crew who had decades of experience with the accuracy of the three models could add their expertise to the forecast. The new crew brought in either 1 or 2 new models, and initially issued a lot of forecasts in line with the GFS model (something the olde crew said was always too wet a predictor). They stumbled for awhile, brought in the new models, and are now getting more experience. When the regular crew goes on vacation, their sub always issues by model and gets it wrong. How do you know when the regular crew is on vacation? It always shows in the forecast discussion. When I was younger? Dr George Fischbeck did the weather; looking at his education he has a degree in education, so maybe I just knew a lot less about the weather then than now.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2003
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Nowhere NM
At least in the Midwest you have a chance of getting it right. Try living in the mountain west where the weather changes with the time of day. Our last 10% chance of rain dropped 2.5" and I was on my motorcycle. At least when I flew it was IFR equipped so I had a chance on making it. Love the Jim Cantore remarks and the snuggly dressed weather "chicks" seem to be the norm. Smoky
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2012
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Northern Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Around here, it's not even about the weather any more. It's about hyping every little thing up to the point that it causes a mass panic so they can get more views and ratings.
It gets worse than that. Now insurance companies are calling this out for increased risk and raising policy rates because of this, never mind cities have allowed development in flood plains AND insurance companies have given them insurance !! Just Google "High River floods, Alberta". Its called High River for a reason.... People, companies make stupid decisions and everyone else pays for it. Calgary had an early snowstorm that destroyed a large number of trees in the city and everyone is crying and blaming climate change. Well, Calgary is a prairie city. Prairie = grasslands. Grasslands are there for a reason, because the weather is too extreme for trees. Duh !!
 
Joined
May 12, 2003
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7,799
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Oklahoma
Especially during tornado season, the forecasters have been spot on. I've been pretty impressed, even get accurate temperature readings. Every once in a while, they miss the forecast, but they do keep you weather aware and let you know what to look for. Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more accurate than 30 years ago.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
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16,700
Location
NE,Ohio
Around here it seems like they are at least 12 hours off on their weather forecasts. During weather changeover events.. ie they predict rain in the morning.. its raining at 8pm the night before... or raining a day later than they predicted. I have noticed this many times.. as I plan trips to mow grass 60 miles away.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Messages
5,022
Location
Lakeville, MN
I pretty much rely on the National Weather Service forecasts at this point. However, I do that by also reading the forecast discussion as the some others have pointed out. By reading the discussion, you can usually get a feel for how they came to their forecast and how confident they are in it. There are days where they point out their forecast confidence is low, and thus those are good days to take the forecast with a large grain of salt.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
We have a very good local news station (WRAL in Raleigh, a CBS affiliate) and the evening weather person is a true veteran. He's been at the station since 1981 and is a real weather geek. He uses as much time as he's allowed to pick the computer data apart and show the viewers just what they're seeing in terms of analysis. He often compares the forecast from various weather models to show where a storm track might be, and they really go deep into live tornado coverage and zoom in tight to tornado signatures on the Doppler and look at debris balls on radar, etc. This group is, by far, the best local weather team I've seen, and Greg Fishel plays a large part in that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Fishel http://www.wral.com/rs/bio/1010713/
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
Messages
3,439
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FL
I use the accuweather app on android......it will give you hour by hour weather forecast and for me it has been extremely accurate and I monitor 3 different locations within 200 miles of each other. Very impressed with its service and accuracy.
 
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