Thursday, December 27, 2007


You know, I am starting to resent weathermen. Well, not starting -- I resent the hell out of them, and their local television stations. They call for big snowstorms, and then nothing happens and all you get is a little rain. This was the case back in New England, and it's the case here in Portland. We were supposed to get 3-7" here in downtown Portland -- and then slowly but surely they backed off, to where it was only 3", and then only 1", and finally just rain.... and it always seems to be like this. Hype the forecast for sensationalistic reasons, to get people to tune in.... and then slowly but surely back off until your forecast means nothing whatsoever.....

Gladly, I gave up on TV five months ago, and even then I didn't watch local news. It is clearly useless, disappointing, and I'm sorry that so many people waste their time watching this shit.


John Fleck said...

David -

I regularly have to write about weather for the Journal, and I've come to really respect the local National Weather Service folks. They put out a thing called a "forecast discussion" every day, a text discussion of the uncertainties in the day's forecast - what they're confident about, and what they aren't, where the surprises might lie, etc. It's one of those crazy super-long links, but if you Google "forecast discussion pqr" ("pqr" is the three-letter code for Portland) you'll get it. It's useful to get a better feel for what lies behind the forecast, but it's also fascinating as a science-watcher to get a little window into the forcasters' thinking.

Dano said...


You may recall that I was a weatherman over two decades ago.

Yesterday, my coworkers asked me what today would be like. I nailed it - 3-4 in. of snow, but I overdid the wind, but the concern was snow amount and I was right on. One of the comments from somebody standing around my desk as I analyzed the data was the typical...well, your comment. Two or three others said 'Dano's way better than x'.

My buddy in FL is coming out in two weeks so we can spend two nights in the snow. There's no question that he trusts my judgment as to whether we go or bail, as he's been backpacking with me since we were wee lads and my weather judgment on going out is excellent. Many forecasters are hit up, constantly, by friends and family for trip forecasts, tee time temps, etc. And they deliver, and have a following. I have one.

Anyway, you are making a hasty generalization. And you don't get it. But that's OK, as I've been ranting for nearly three decades at how the Forecast Discussions are translated into useful information for the public [my thesis was about something similar].

BTW, John, the Forecast Discussion (FD) for PDT is:

FXUS66 KPDT [ddhhmm]

Found here. Some time ago I aspired to write these. I like to pass on funny things these guys say to pilot friends, and I agree that the thought process is fascinating. Often, with the inexperienced ones, it's parroting the models, but the ones who have been doing it for a while are fun.



Dano said...

Oops - John was right about the PQT bit. Apologies. Everything else stands.