The weather has been extremely active (the remains of Hurricane Hermine, flooding in the Midwest, record heat, etc., etc.) the last ten days which has kept me very busy at AccuWeather. Our entire team did an incredible job handling all of this. The Wichita office, which is the severe weather center of the company, accurately handled a tornado and superbly warned of a flash flood that closed Interstate 35.
|An extremely rare sight: Interstate 35/Kansas Turnpike closed due to flooding. AccuWeather meteorologists gave officials more than two hours notice so the road could be closed and traffic rerouted in a safe manner.|
So, the complaints about meteorology this week came as a bit of a surprise.
It began with a Facebook posting I saw at midweek. A meteorologist friend of mine posted an item that was a complaint. A commenter then posted about "the irony of a meteorologist complaining of inaccuracy."
That was the original impulse for this essay. Then, yesterday, at lunch, I was reading the Wall Street Journal and was surprised they published this nonsense.
"How fallible meteorologists are"? "How frequently they revise their forecasts of the short-term future of such inanimate things as raindrops"? How stupid!
I frequently talk about meteorology as the "Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences" -- we get no respect even though "short term forecasts" (a/k/a "storm warnings") are highly accurate.
As regular readers know, I have a personal crusade to help meteorology and weather science gain the respect our science so richly deserves. So, when I hear about how allegedly bad our forecasts are, I often say, "compared to what?"
Yesterday morning I read a stock market forecast posted by Liz Ann Sonders, one of the best known forecasters on Wall Street. Here is what she wrote:
If you scroll down one posting you find that heavy rains and flooding occurred in the Great Plains this past week. If you scroll down further, you will see multiple postings about the specific flash flood threat. Here are some quick snapshots of some of the postings:
|BNSF Railway rushes hundreds of brand new automobiles cross country.|
Every major U.S. railroad and auto manufacturer is a client of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.
Since it had been more than a decade since a hurricane came ashore in Florida, you might think we were out of practice. Yet, the forecasts for Hurricane Hermine which struck the Florida Big Bend ten days ago were right on the money.
Time and time again, weather science helps people live safer, better lives and helps businesses operate more safely and effectively. It is long past time for society to properly value our efforts.