Something I get asked as every severe weather system moves in… “Now, what do you think will really happen?” If you ask that and get a not-so-nice answer, I apologize.
Think about it for a second… asking this question means you think I didn’t believe what I was saying on television… In front of hundreds of thousands of people.
There is no insider information, or what I “really think is gonna happen” with me. I do my VERY best to understand the system coming in and convey what will happen to my viewers on TV and online.
Because of this, you’ll often hear me say there are severe weather “chances” or severe weather is “possible.” Something we know pretty much for sure, is that the forecast will be changing. It does on a daily basis, and it does on an hourly basis, and heck with severe weather it even does it to some degree on a minute by minute basis.
This is why we use time frames, and ranges of severe weather, this is why we use scales and categories and on and on. Yes, I know it can get confusing. That’s exactly why I spend so much time crafting my “weather story” before going on TV or posting on social media. I want to make sure my delivery is clear and as precise and accurate as possible with the information I have.
So when you ask me what I “really think is going to happen” you’re going to get a face that wants to be a mean one, but doesn’t want to be mean…. then you’re going to get a reworded version of exactly what I said on TV.
Okay, so “what about my house? When will it hit my house?”
Remember that part about time frames and the forecast changing? Find your house on our map and look at the time frame. That is the very best option. If you ask, we are just going to tell you exactly what the map says. We can’t, days ahead or hours ahead, tell you exactly what time the storm will get to your side of town versus the other. And when we can, like when there is a storm moving into town or a tornado on the ground…. we’ll be posting storm tracks with times that it will be in your specific town or on your specific side of town.
Again, we aren’t keeping information from you. There are still a lot of limits in forecasting.
So what about that app that tells me it will rain at my house at exactly 3:17 PM tomorrow? I can tell you that, but I would rather be accurate… There’s so much difference between just telling you a forecast and it actually being true. I may be able to tell you that tomorrow we’ll have rain chances in your area in the early afternoon, but at 3:17 tomorrow at your house… nope. That’s just not possible yet, or at least not accurately possible. Some day, maybe it will be.
Now how about this one… “Y’all are just trying to scare us!”
Actually, the opposite. I was scared of storms growing up, that’s why I became interested in weather… SO I could STAY away from them. When meteorologists talk about storms, especially about severe storms it means we are going to be working longer hours… missing family meals, vacations etc etc and NO we don’t get paid hourly, my friends. SO, you won’t catch me saying the storms are going to be worse than I really think they are.
On that note though, I do want people to be prepared for what is possible. Say hail up to the size of tennis balls is going to be possible, that is what I will say. No, every hail stone that falls will not be the size of a tennis ball… and in the end we may not see any hail that large, but wouldn’t you rather know it’s possible and be prepared for that to hit? Same goes on tornadoes, if they’re possible…. I’m definitely going to tell you. But, tornadoes will be possible on many days that a tornado doesn’t form. It is my JOB to get you prepared for what COULD happen.