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Author Topic: 1/22/2016 Winter Storm  (Read 258056 times)

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Offline Charles L.

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Re: 1/22/2016 Winter Storm
« Reply #1935 on: January 27, 2016, 10:57:27 AM »
At the end of the day, the only thing the average person cares about is if it is going to snow in their backyard, and how much will they get.

Also, I hate the way the general public perceives snowfall accumulation maps/predictions. Let's say someone calls for Nashville to see 2-4", how much does the vast majority think Nashville will see? 4"

They only see the top end of the range and when Nashville sees 2" instead of 4", people say the meteorologist got in wrong. Which isn't true, but again that goes back to people's perceptions when reading those maps.
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Offline Drmaynard

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Re: 1/22/2016 Winter Storm
« Reply #1936 on: January 27, 2016, 01:51:35 PM »
At the end of the day, the only thing the average person cares about is if it is going to snow in their backyard, and how much will they get.

Also, I hate the way the general public perceives snowfall accumulation maps/predictions. Let's say someone calls for Nashville to see 2-4", how much does the vast majority think Nashville will see? 4"

They only see the top end of the range and when Nashville sees 2" instead of 4", people say the meteorologist got in wrong. Which isn't true, but again that goes back to people's perceptions when reading those maps.

This is the case with everything, though. When the news says "gas could get as high as three dollars a gallon" everybody says "did you hear gas is going to be three dollars a gallon?"

Somebody has probably done a psychological study to figure out why we do this.

Offline snowdog

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Re: 1/22/2016 Winter Storm
« Reply #1937 on: January 27, 2016, 01:56:28 PM »
Excellent post-event analysis of the models and forecast from Friday's event by Paul Heggen:

Paul Heggen reminds me of Andy Bernard (aka 'Nard Dawg) from The Office, which makes the below pretty funny.  This was Heggen late last Thursday night...


Offline @NashSevereWx

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Re: 1/22/2016 Winter Storm
« Reply #1938 on: January 28, 2016, 01:16:10 PM »
I am tired of apologizing to the public.

Paul got nothing "wrong." At every step of the forecast process, he communicated uncertainty, and qualified his statements.

For some reason, we think we have to give the public a binary forecast. A yes/no. A specific amount.  Why? Because they demand it. It drives ratings and clicks.  And we have to give them what they want! We think. That's dumb.

Public doesn't want a range --- are the cries. The public wants an answer!

And if you don't give them that -- so we are told -- they go to an app or a model and get their yes/no specific "answer." Cause they don't have time for context. They don't have time to hear the truth. They're busy!

So they go to that app and its E-Z, definitive, clip art and number. They believe that app. Why? Because it says "The Weather Channel." Oooohhh! The Weather Channel! "The", not "A Weather Channel."

The app lies because it doesn't communicate uncertainty, and the percentage it shows is not understood (by anyone, really).

Or they get a model output map. Look how pretty it is! Looks smart cause it has z's and runs and Tells The Future. And if you look at the right one you can can see how specific it is!

Model run doesn't say -- THIS MAY BE WRONG.

Neither does the app.

So the bow ties in the room point out -- those may be wrong and probably are wrong. Why? That model maps lacks the temporal resolution you're reading into it. Or it's only a 4 or 12 km model. Or it disagreed with itself 6 hours ago! Or it produces a meteorologically impossible result. Or it's biased this way or that.

So people who listen to that say -- oh -- ok -- show me the app that's right. Or show me the right model. Or the only that's "usually right."

Sigh.

People accept uncertainty in all areas of life. From sports prognosticators to preachers to investment bankers. Everywhere, uncertainty. The public can accept the uncertainty. They can deal with ranges. They crave data and info. So stop treating them like they're stupid by giving them apps with start/stop times of the rain or when it's going to snow and exactly how much. Don't just give them one model run. Raise the discourse! Tell them the truth. Give them all the data! Explain it!

Don't be an app. When the app tells them a Certainty Lie, like snow at 10 AM, but not at 9 AM, they believe them. So don't repeat the lie! When stranded on I-40 at 9:45 AM, let them blame that CrapApp, not The Meteorologist. 

**Don't give a number that's a lie when the range is the truth.

**Don't give a percentage, that's lazy. Work to communicate and explain your uncertainty.

**Don't give one forecast then ignore the audience as the new model runs come in. Read the Area Forecast Discussions. Refine, update, repeat. Sent no tweets between midnight and 6 AM? You got a problem.

**When the storm is on your radar, put away the models (except you, HRRR, you my bae). Know your dual pol.

Tell them what you think about a weather event, but include the truth that the blocks and bricks and mortar of a forecast is uncertainty and experience and risk and supercomputers and analogs and instinct. It's not yes/no. The forecast is not binary. We aren't that smart. Educate your audience on the risk and the uncertainty. Encourage them to stay tuned. Communicate to them where they are. Profit.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 02:34:59 PM by @NashSevereWx »
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