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Can someone please explain

by Diane Harrison / November 27, 2004 10:27 AM PST

how it is possible with all the advanced technology, satellites, radar, and doppler and all that stuff, for the weatherpersons to be SO wrong lately? I'm not being facetious, but seriously, how is this possible?

The biggest storm in 20-40 years out here (last weekend) was not even predicted to have a single bit of rain (much less snow). It literally came out of nowhere as far as we were concerned, dumping several feet of snow and tons of rain, even snowing in places that haven't had snow in 20 to 40 years. Today, it was supposed to be clear until tonight, and then some rain, but mainly waiting to rain until tomorrow. It's been raining since this morning.

How is this possible these days?

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Bad luck?
by Bill Osler / November 27, 2004 10:33 AM PST

You probably know as much about meteorology as I do, but I'll gladly share my ignorance.

My impression is that weather is a complex process affected by so many variables that our understanding is incomplete. Also, because it is a chaotic process, seemingly trivial perturbations can produce large and unpredictable results.

My impression is that we may be able to improve our weather prediction over time, but we will not ever have really accurate predictions. Unpredictability is part of the nature of complex chaotic processes.

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In NY they hardly fail. It's more...
by Charlie Thunell PL&T / November 27, 2004 7:01 PM PST
In reply to: Bad luck?

if they say that around 3 pm the snow will start to fall, it starts to fall at 15.00! I find them very precise here at least no matter which channel it is; CBS, NBC or ABC. No complaints here. And if they're right 99% of the time, i doubt that is because of GOOD LUCK!

Oh, I forgot. They tend to have storm watch is we're getting half an inch of snow and the people rush to the stores to pile up with everything they may need! They are a little too hysterical here in that sense. Showing their big snow plows standing ready like an army to figh the massive snowfall, which ends up to be as said half an inch or less! LOL!

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In Maryland
by James Denison / November 28, 2004 2:12 PM PST

I've heard them call for less than 4 inches. We get the 4 inches and it's still snowing. They up it to 7 inches. We were at 8 inches and they decide it might be 10 inches. By the time it was through it was more than a foot of snow. Now you know why those people are rushing out to stock up for "a inch or two of snow".

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This is probably a way out possibilty :)
by SteveGargini / November 27, 2004 11:48 AM PST

A fleet of UFO's were charging up their engines for the trip back to there planet, and consequently sucked all the heat out of the atmosphere.
Well! I did say it was a bit wayout Happy
I am a great Sci-Fi fan, incase you didn't notice. lol

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Re: Can someone please explain
by C1ay / November 27, 2004 12:48 PM PST

My long standing prediction is that there is a 50% chance of rain every day, either it will or it won't. So far I've never missed Happy

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Re: Can someone please explain
by Diane Harrison / November 27, 2004 4:33 PM PST

LOL! Well you gentlemen have as good of theories as the weathercasters, I guess Wink Now, I'll admit I had not considered the UFO connection before, but the 50/50 chance sounds wonderfully accurate, and I'm about ready to concede that Dr. Bill is right that the whole thing is still a great mystery. Guess I was giving science too much credit.

Well, this means I'll have to resort to the surefire way I've used in the past - look out the windows, and if the ground is wet all over, it's raining Happy Not so high tech, but very accurate.

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Sometimes we have a tendency to
by MarciaB / November 27, 2004 9:53 PM PST

complicate simple things with technology. Weather prediction is one of them.

The Weather Stone is about as simple and accurate as you can get. The one in the link is probably one that has been around for some time, although we believe the Native Americans used them often Wink


I've seen them in varying sizes. Git yerself one and become the weathercaster for your neighborhood.

Take care,


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Orion put you up to this, didn't he? LOL
by Diane Harrison / November 28, 2004 1:34 AM PST

Yes, that one would tend to be very accurate. Wink I have a bunch of nautical equipment in the house that probably works fairly good if I paid attention to it.

The other weekend was just like one of those horror movies though, where the evil darkness sweeps across the sunny land, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the air drops 20 or 30 degrees in temperature, and the skies open up like the world is ending. You'd think they could predict that coming at least three hours ahead of time.

Unlike Charlie's situation in New York, out here, we literally have the newscasters saying, live on t.v., that it is a nice, sunny day. At the same time, people are calling them up and telling them they are complete idiots, to look out the window since it's raining - and sure enough, it is raining hard.

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I don't know about New York area, but out West ...
by Bill Osler / November 28, 2004 1:56 AM PST

Everywhere I ever lived out West you could find people whose attitude about current weather was: "If you don't like the weather right now, just wait a few minutes til it changes."

There may be places where the weather models work OK most of the time, but I doubt that there are many. One of the things I know for certain is that weather is a splendid example of a chaotic system, and there are very real limits to how much we will be able to predict it even if our models are perfect.

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Britain was like that too, wait 15 minutes and the sun could
by Ziks511 / November 28, 2004 2:57 AM PST

be out. It generally was sunny at the end of the day because the weather systems affecting southern Britain were so localized that you'd get the sun shining horizontally under the clouds. Of course it could be wretched for a week at a time but I must say I didn't find it nearly as bad as everyone said it would be.

I also liked the fact that I almost never wore a coat. I'd put on my lab coat before I left the house, climb in the car and drive to work, winter or summer.


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Re: I don't know about New York area, but out West ...
by Diane Harrison / November 28, 2004 3:20 AM PST

At least Florida is a bit more lucky than that. I would hate to think they could wake up to find another Category 4 Hurricane on top of them with no warning!

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by MarciaB / November 28, 2004 2:57 AM PST

t'was all me!! Grin

I'm sure he would enjoy the credit, however.

We get the same here in our part of Oregon in regard to the weather vs. weathercasters. I think they would be safe here in Lake County to just say "It's August, it's warm. It's September through July, it's cold" Happy

It's not quite that extreme - but pretty dang close. August is the only month of the year that I have not seen snow here. We are quite often the coldest place in Oregon, and have been the coldest in the nation before.


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Re: Nope
by Diane Harrison / November 28, 2004 3:18 AM PST
In reply to: Nope

I used to enjoy going up to Coos Bay to gem hunt. So cold though, that you could freeze in the process. For those that don't know, that is one of the only places in the world where the currents are just perfect, so that real gems wash up on the shore in that area with great frequency. Had it ever gotten above seemingly freezing, I would have been happy to go with the program of living there. Some beautiful homes overlooking the area too, but I hate to think of their heating bills!

We had property in Oregon for many, many years. I learned two things up there: Don't ever drive with a California plate on your car, or admit to being from California, and if it's not raining or snowing at the moment, it means it just was, or is about to. Easy weather to predict Wink

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Re: Can someone please explain -- Actually...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / November 28, 2004 7:00 AM PST

Diane, we're much better at weather prediction in terms of longer-term trends, but small changes can have major impact on a local scale.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re: Can someone please explain -- Actually...
by Diane Harrison / November 28, 2004 7:17 AM PST

Hmmm. . .okay. . .that kind of makes sense. Thanks for the explanation Happy

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