22 October 2018
The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis is a Must Listen
Posted by Dan Satterfield
You really need to listen to The Coming Storm. This Audible short is about big data, deadly storms, and egregious greed, and I’d give it 5 stars even if I were not quoted in it. (The quote is accurate by the way and I stand by it 100%.)
My friend Tim Schmidt (my go-to expert on satellite data) is also quoted and he (and many of my NOAA friends) are given long overdue recognition by Lewis. Others, including Accuweather CEO Barry Myers, and those who run it, are not likely to be as satisfied by what they hear. Indeed, much of the criticism leveled in this book seems deserved and the issues around weather warnings in Oklahoma City are well known to meteorologists who work in TV and in the NWS.
Frankly, it’s still surprising to me how few AMS certified/degreed meteorologists are working on air in the most severe weather prone area in America. There are far more qualified mets on air in Boston, Denver, or Seattle. Then again, this is Oklahoma and you have Norman, where virtually everyone accepts that humans are warming the planet and the rest of the state who voted for Jim (it’s all a hoax) Inhofe. (Note: I grew up in Oklahoma and worked at Tulsa and OKC TV stations.)
While there is little in The Coming Storm that any NOAA or broadcast meteorologist does not know about, Lewis has put the facts together in an engaging story for the general public. After you finish it, you will understand how most of the atmospheric science community felt when the head of Accuweather was nominated to run NOAA.
My blog post about Accuweather’s laughable 90-day weather forecasts (Is Roger Rabbit Running Accuweather?) has gotten quite a bit of feedback, but Lewis has convinced me that perhaps it is Wyle. E Coyote and not Roger Rabbit whose running things. In any event, it seems this story has gotten the attention of others, and at least one who has writing and storytelling abilities far beyond mine.
I’ll update that original post with this: get The Coming Storm from Audible, and if you have not done it yet, stand up for science and delete the Accuweather app off your phone.
Yes, it was an excellent listen and a warning that unless we are vigilant, vote etc, , weather forecasting, led by Accuweather, will be privatized. We will be at the mercy of corporations and their profit motive for info. Unfortunately, Trump has appointed Accuweather CEO as had of NOAA, about as bad an apponitment as you can think of.
I just listened a few days ago… The book is good overall – but the author inserts factually incorrect statements (that weren’t even necessary had they been correct) that bother me. Radar data wasn’t available before Amazon put it on the cloud? The NWS has precip data for every airport in the US “no matter how small”? Model data was only available in the 90s if you hacked their servers?
And I do need to correct something in your blog… You equate “AMS certified” with “qualified.” Those are not guaranteed to be mutual 😉
What is the definition of “Qualified”?
I have not read The Coming Storm, but I did read The Fifth Risk, in which he devotes a sizable portion to Accuweather and Myers, etc. And all common sense says you can’t forecast the weather 30 or 60 or 90 days out. Yet I had a petsitter cancel out of a sit a month ago, saying the extended forecast said it was going to snow. In March, in the Puget Sound region! I said, it is not possible for them to know this far in advance, and certainly not in March. Got someone else to do the sit. However, at this moment, as we are making our way to the airport on March 7, IT IS SNOWING. Bizarre.