Local Meteorologists Getting it Right

We had a significant storm in the Chicago area a few weeks ago − probably one of the most severe winter storms we’ve had in the last 50 years or so.

The winners of this storm, if you consider such a thing, are the weather forecasters or meteorologists.  So often you hear about a severe storm forecasted and nothing happens or we get one inch of snow. Sometimes, forecasters predict spring or summer severe weather and it doesn’t rain one drop. After a while, with inconsistent forecasts, listeners or viewers may be less likely to take weather forecasts seriously.

Image of the Chicago Blizzard '11 from WJBC.com

This storm really changed things − at least it changed things temporarily. Perhaps this storm appears to have helped the reputation of weather forecasters. Meteorologists were predicting the heavy snow was supposed to begin around 3 pm on Tuesday. Indeed, at exactly 3 pm, the heavy snow began to hit the Libertyville area. Meteorologists said at times, we’d receive 2 inches a snow an hour − I certainly experienced this while shoveling on Tuesday evening. It was also forecasted the area would receive  gusts of 50 mph winds with very cold temperatures. Again, they were right on the money. And don’t forget, meteorologists predicted between 16 and 20 inches (and up to 24 inches in some spots). Again, pretty much spot on as the unofficial total in Libertyville was 20 inches. They also forecast frigid temperatures once the storm left our area and this transpired too.

Again, people often don’t trust what meteorologists say or they don’t take their forecasts seriously. Being so exact on the depth of snow, wind velocity and the time the storm was to hit, their forecasts were precise.  If local residents took this forecast seriously, it would have saved them a tremendous amount of time and inconvenience by getting off the streets, finding a warm place and letting the plows do the work. Their success at accurately predicting this monumental storm may help to bring a little more confidence into their forecasts, especially forecasts dealing with snow. At least for the remainder of the season.

Would you agree their success with this particular forecast helps their reputation in any way? Why or why not?

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