Sunday, September 9, 2012

More on the NYT Story About Weather Forecasting

Scroll down for Part One pertaining the the New York Times' "Not Morons" story about weather forecasting.

Part Two

I'd now like to focus on the perception of weather forecasting versus the reality using yesterday's New York City tornadoes (there were at least two) as an example.

Friday evening, this blog posted:
Of course, New York City is included in the area of highest risk.

After posting the blog piece, I read the story in the NYT (still Friday evening) and posted the following comment. Focus on the final paragraph.

Now, here is an excerpt from this morning's Associated Press story about the tornadoes and their aftermath. I appreciate them pointing out that a timely warning was in effect.

Residents had advance notice. The weather service had issued a tornado warning for Queens and Brooklyn at around 10:40 a.m. The storm took people by surprise anyway when it struck about 20 minutes later.

Fortunately, the extent of the damage (because of the relatively light population of the area stuck) was relatively small and there were no serious injuries. Photo below from Associated Press.

So, people, after reading the Times' article and having our forecast savvy demonstrated in the Times' backyard, are saluting those meteorologists who do a great job, right?

Well, some did. But, most of the comments to the NYT article pertaining to the accuracy of weather forecasts are clearly negative:

It really is amazing that, no matter how right we get it -- storm after storm and month after month -- meteorology seems to be doomed to be the Rodney Dangerfield of Sciences: No Respect!

We're big boys and girls and can take it (Rodney made a darn good living getting no respect) but the bigger concern is that we know people lose their lives because they do not take storm warnings seriously. There is a genuine and tragic toll exacted by this ignorance.

So, I'll keep trying to illustrate the value of weather science and hope to change the perception a little at a time.

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