Archive for April, 2013

29
Apr
13

Fantastic Umbrella Giveaway!

here’s your chance to get your hands on station “swag”! Every night this week, I will be giving away one WUTR Eyewitness News umbrella. How do you win one? Simply watch Eyewitness News at 11, and during weather, at some point, I will say, “And you can quote me on this:_____________” and whatever I say next to complete the sentence, write it down or remember it, then go to cnyhomepage.com, click on the Weather tab, and then click “You can quote me” tab under that, fill out the form, and repeat back the phrase. Since there may be multiple “winners”, the winner each night will be the person who sends me the right answer…FIRST…since each message will be time-stamped.

You must quote me exactly in order to have a chance.
So, for example, let’s say at some point, I say”…so tomorrow will start out cloudy, but hazy sun will develop…and YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THIS…the thermometer will reach 70 degrees tomorrow afternoon…”
Your correct response on the form would be, “the thermometer will reach 70 degrees tomorrow afternoon”.

5 nights, 5 chances to grab some swag.
Good luck!
Umbrella giveaway

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24
Apr
13

SEVERE WEATHER

I wanted to get your attention with the headline, because the truth is, too many people do not take it seriously enough to plan for, until it is actually happening, which explains the chaos and death that always occurs.
So, I want to remind you that while severe (Summer) weather can happen anytime from March through September, it is most likely here in May. By severe weather, I am referring to high winds, flooding rains, and hail…in addition to the obvious tornado.
I cannot impress upon you how important it is to have a comprehensive and cohesive plan for the entire family, discussed with the entire family, and involving the entire family, for who does what and when, when severe weather is imminent. For instance, when high winds are expected, who gets the lawn furniture, and where does it go? When flooding rains happen, how do you prep the basement and who does what? If a tornado watch is in effect, is there a “point person” who contacts every family member…identifies where they are…tells them where to be and when to check in afterwards? Do all know where to go in the house, and why? Do you/they know to bring a blanket and or mattress into the bathroom and put it over you in the tub?
These are all things that the head of household should develop, discuss and parse out with the family, and make sure all understand what to do, why, and when.
In that vein, here is an article on how a recent storm in Wyoming has scientists in the field hoping it helps determine severe storms and may improve LEAD time to their arrival. Check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/04/10/tornado-data-could-help-forecasters-increase-warning-times-and-reduce-false-alarms/

19
Apr
13

Did you know that America’s first “weatherman” was Benjamin Franklin?

Ok, you probably are aware that Ben Franklin made some discoveries regarding electricity, via his famous key-on-a-kite experiment, but did you know he actually made a number of weather discoveries…some of which would not be full understood OR accepted, for another century or two? Things related to storm motion (over America), wind motion and direction, barometric pressure, etcetera. No wonder he was a hit with the ladies! He was always experimenting, and he knew stuff no one else could know about a very cool subject!
Here is a great article on his many discoveries and ideas, that I found to be an excellent read.
Check it out: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/14/benjamin-franklin-america-s-first-storm-chaser.html

16
Apr
13

For those of you who can’t keep your eyes off the sun!

Occasionally, I speak to people who are “up” on solar flare activity and such. I came across this article on a scientific group that is tracking such data. I thought since I did, I would pass it along, so that those concerned would be prepared when the big one hits, knocking out all power on planet Earth 🙂 By the way, it’s pretty ironic to me, that the more high tech we get, the easier it is for nature to knock us down. Before electronics, who cared about solar flares? No one! Now that we are so dependent on our gadgets, every flair can adversely affect our daily activity.

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/europes-space-weather-center-to-track-solar-storms

05
Apr
13

How accurate are your forecasts???

I remember when I was in college, participating in the Forecasting Contest…against other students, grad students, and professors. And I finished woefully as I recall, mostly because they knew that to score well (whether you decide this strategy decreases the value to you is another story), they had to play odds, hedging on percentages, and almost never going 100% or 0% chances. I was a more black and white forecaster, because IN MY MIND, it either rained or it did not…it never 70% rained! Right? However, over time, I learned there is some value in their methodology, because while I’d want to be as precise as possible for YOU the viewer, weather is NOT an exact science, and by telling you words or phrases like “likely, not likely, slight, most, probable” etc, these DO convey to the viewer my level of confidence in my own forecast. This has value because if I am definite, you can therefore BOOK it. If I have serious doubt, you should play your weather-related activities by ear or even wait until I can be more certain.

Some years later, I did my own (personal) study…for my own curiosity, I wanted to see what I’d score on a 5 day forecast. It required months of forecasts and then lengthy reviews and analysis, and I came up with an 82% overall accuracy rate, for myself, at that time (maybe 12-15 years ago, now. I’d like to think I’ve improved even more since…just due to time served!)

In any event, I remember when I graduated college in the late 80s, serious studies had shown that the most accurate forecasts/forecasters would be in the 80-90% range day 1 and 2, in the 70s day 3, and the accuracy trailed off to about 50% by day 5. Now think about that…if the accuracy of day 5 is 50%, that is 50/50, and that means…at that time…that if someone told you a forecast for day 5 only, and you flipped a coin yourself for Day 5, the mindless coin would be as accurate (over time) for Day 5 as the person who is studying all the weather charts…boring through material…trying to give you an accurate day 5 forecast! That’s not encouraging for us Mets (Meteorologists)!

Well, all the above is a prelude to a new study, demonstrating that the accuracy overall has improved to the point where, not only is Day 5 better than 50/50 now, a current day forecast for days 6 and 7 are now as accurate as an old “5th day” forecast…as the first 5 days of accuracy have improved to the point of demonstrating “skill” even through day 5 now, so that days 6 and 7 are now worthy of benefit to the receiver.

Check it out:

http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/eyeonthestorm/2013/03/28/6-7-day-storm-forecasts-as-good-as-closer-ones-a-decade-ago/

PS: As a footnote, I would point out that forecasts…or any information relayed…is only as accurate as the viewer’s memory. In other words, I cannot tell you how many times I have given a specific forecast, only to have a viewer tell me the next day in the store that I was wrong when I said this or that…AND I NEVER SAID what they repeated back to me! So, the ATTENTION-span of the viewer, the RETENTION-span of the viewer are also equally important to the actual forecast itself. It’s a fact that if I tell a person the high temps for the next 5 days, they will almost never repeat them back to me correctly, or in the right order. So that’s a huge part of the misperception by some, that “You Mets are never right!”