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3 July 2016

The Science Behind That Awesome Photo You Saw on Twitter or Facebook

Meteorologist see a whole lot more in this image however, and it even shows the promise of better warnings of severe weather. This is especially true for rural areas/ poor nations that have only a rudimentary severe weather warning system in place. The image was apparently taken from an airliner over the Pacific.  You’re looking at a very intense thunderstorm, with an updraft of air that towers into the stratosphere …


13 April 2016

GOES R Launch Date Set: Will Revolutionize Weather Forecasting

    I have mentioned the new GOES R frequently, and we are now down to 6 months from the launch. I wrote a post last year about how it will revolutionize forecasting. I also did this on air report on WBOC TV in February, discussing how the launch will mark the beginning of a new era in forecasting and Earth observation. From NASA today: The GOES-R satellite is set to …


11 April 2016

Accuweather Forecasts to 90 Days are Scientifically Indefensible.

The comments from the science community when Accuweather’s started making 45 day weather forecasts were to put it mildly- blistering, and now that they have extended them to 90 days it’s no different. Forecasts of this type beyond 7-10 days (at the most) are simply not possible. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re wrong, because we are in the realm of palm reading and horoscopes here, not science. I agree …


29 March 2016

This Has Meteorologists Talking Today

An interesting paper came out today, and it has we meteorologists talking. It’s about using sea water temperature patterns in the Pacific to forecast heat waves in the eastern portions of North America. Researchers found that when a certain pattern of water temperatures appeared, there would often be unusually hot weather in the Eastern U.S. about 40-50 days later. A statistical analysis using this method over the years 1982-2013 showed …


14 March 2016

Coo Coo for Cocorahs

Do you know what cocorahs is? Many of your neighbors do. Thousands of folks across the U.S. report rainfall each day using a specially designed gauge. The gauge cost around 30$ and is VERY accurate. These rain and snow reports are used for river flood warnings, forecasting, and climate data, and are very important. You can find out more here:


11 March 2016

The World’s Best Long Range Weather Model Just Got Better

  Synoptic weather forecasters like me have been looking forward to the upgraded ECMWF forecast model for months now. This model is already the guidance of choice for medium and long range forecasts (2-10 days), and now it is running at an even higher resolution with other improvements as well. An ensemble of several different daily runs (that is key to diagnosing which solution is more likely when models differ) is …


24 January 2016

A Storm That Will Be Remembered for Generations

Some are calling it Snowzilla, and having experienced it, the name fits! From DC to Baltimore, and up to New York have over 2 feet. Here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it varies but a foot is common in Central and Northern Delaware and near Denton in Maryland. On the coast, major coastal flooding has caused significant damage. I shot the image above (from the WBOC Ocean City Maryland …


29 November 2015

Some Thoughts About The Coming Winter: Part One

This time of year it’s the number one question that every meteorologist hears: “What’s the winter going to like??” The correct answer is, “We can’t predict the weather 3 months in advance with any real accuracy.”. That said, we can make some decent guesses about the climate patterns that we may see, in some areas more than others. First, let me show you why we really cannot use numerical weather …


6 July 2015

“Weather by Icon” Is A Bad Way To Get an Accurate Forecast

Every meteorologist will tell you the same thing. The most often heard comment they hear when they tell someone what they do for a living is something along the lines of “It must be nice to get paid to be wrong most of the time!”. My usual response is that my batting average is far above that of most major league baseball players, and they make a lot more than …


30 January 2015

We Must Do A Better Job of Communicating Forecast Uncertainty

My wife says that most of her friends have no idea about how I make a forecast, and I suspect that some believe I just get it from the NWS, without thinking how even they might do it. Many folks do understand we use numerical models but beyond that it’s hazy, and they think that if the forecast is wrong, it’s because the model was bad, not the interpretation of it. …


28 January 2015

Predicting the Weather is Tricky Work

This is a guest post by long-time Raleigh North Carolina Meteorologist (and friend) Greg Fishel of WRAL-TV During Tuesday’s 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. news, I talked about ensembles, how they outperformed the deterministic models for New York City last night and that they appear to be performing better for the local area with regard to a storm arriving on Sunday. First, what are ensembles and why are they so …


13 January 2014

Don’t Let The Thaw Fool You, The Revenge of The Polar Vortex May be Coming

Numerical weather models tend to become very unreliable beyond 5 or 6 days but meteorologists have discovered a trick that helps in long-range forecasting. At least a bit. We still cannot pin down what day a storm will hit at a particular place but we can get a good idea of whether or not the pattern will be warm/cold/dry or stormy. Here is the trick: Run the weather model multiple …


19 October 2013

Improving Weather Forecasts

I mentioned this subject in the previous post about my talk at the AGU in Washington, and now Rand Corporation has an interesting piece about the subject as well. I’m convinced that the biggest problem with weather forecasts to the public is not their accuracy, but in the delivery and interpretation. Educating meteorologists (and the public), is perhaps more important than actually improving our numerical weather prediction capability! The delivery …