I just love March. We pass through the Vernal Equinox. We celebrate Saint Patrick. We try to make basketball predictions.
Did you pick UMBC to beat Virginia in the first round?
It’s okay because it was a prediction, and each time this year we’re reminded that predicting the future can be tough. Enter the meteorologist. What a wonderful time of the year. Finally, the attention gets turned away from us “getting it wrong all the time.”
Let’s compare weather predicting and basketball predicting:
Both use history as a guide of the future – In weather, we look back to similar patterns to help predict the upcoming pattern. In basketball we look back to the regular season
Both crunch numbers – Weather models are based upon huge, long mathematical equations. Basketball analysts will throw stats around all day, comparing the two teams
One change in the beginning can sway the entire prediction – An injury to a key player can affect the game’s outcome. Having bad data in weather prediction can throw off the forecast.
One of the questions we get asked way too many times is ‘How do you still get paid to get the forecast wrong?’ Technically this is true because we will never be able to get every, last detail 100% correct in a weather forecast. However if we get it ‘close enough’ then we’re probably more correct than one might think. I accumulated statistics one year for how accurate I was as a forecaster. I gave myself a 10% margin of error (I forecast 30% chance of rain and there was somewhere between 20-40% of rain coverage) and I gave myself 2 degrees of error on low and high temperature. The data I found showed that I was correct on day 1 about 85% of the time, day 2 about 75% of the time, and day 3 70% of the time. After day 3, my accuracy dropped to as low as 40-50% through day 7.
The reason weather predicting is tough is because there are so many variables and so many microclimates to try to quantify into one precise answer for, “Will it rain or not?” The atmosphere is a beautiful, yet very tough thing, to predict. We pour over statistics, analyze the data, and draw conclusions the best we can. I hope this time of the year reminds us all that predicting is difficult. Just take a look at the basketball brackets this time of the year!
And with that, we’ll leave you with the forecast for the weekend below:
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Steve Glazier
If you missed hitting the slopes this weekend, here's a video from a ski lift to help you feel like you didn't.… https://t.co/tXEqNOmT3T4 hours ago by WeatherNation
Powerful storms continue to slam the West Coast and this will lead to high surf through the week. https://t.co/bNCLlIaI3t6 hours ago by WeatherNation
PARADE OF STORMS: Yet another set of alerts to add to a growing list. Multiple storms will hit the northwest into n… https://t.co/JLn6U3Vivu9 hours ago by WeatherNation
Rain will be moving out of the Philadelphia area shortly, here's the soggy view from earlier. https://t.co/VW5tyEXPge10 hours ago by WeatherNation
Washington D.C. is at its wettest year on record - already over two inches over its previous high mark from 1889:… https://t.co/qoVjcOsp6312 hours ago by WeatherNation
BUZZ WORD: Atmospheric Rivers. They're expected to bring heavy rain and snow to the west, but do you know what the… https://t.co/A0cQR1swcq14 hours ago by WeatherNation
Gorgeous sunrise this morning in Greers Ferry, AR!☀️ https://t.co/LPDf1yKa1r14 hours ago by WeatherNation
Check out this incredible morning satellite view of swollen rivers in South Carolina. Recent heavy rains and snow m… https://t.co/lwTxSeZAK715 hours ago by WeatherNation