What does it take to get the weatherman fired?

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davintosh's picture
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My daughter asked this question tonight.

You've seen it before; the weather-dude/dudette predicts rain or snow or sunshine or whatever, and what you get is the exact opposite. Or they make this prediction or that, and its either totally wrong, a day or two early, or a day or two late.

We're in the midst of a huge winter storm -- a blizzard -- and while the forecasters have been telling us for the last week or so that it was coming, the day it was going to hit changed from weather report to weather report, as did the prediction of when the rain would change to snow and the predicted snowfall amounts.

It was a bit comical here in Sioux Falls; it rained a good part of yesterday (really strange for a late-November storm) and continued through this morning. The prediction was for it to turn much colder early this morning, with the precipitation turning to freezing rain then snow, accompanied by high winds. All the city schools called off school right away this morning -- now a six-day Thanksgiving weekend for the grommets -- but it didn't start getting bad until after noon. Granted, it was probably a good thing that the schools didn't have to deal with getting kids home early when things started to get nasty, but everybody was wondering for half the day whether it was even going to happen. And it has happened before that school was called off based on a weather forecast that didn't come to fruition.

I'm watching the news now, and they are likening this storm to the hurricanes that hit the Gulf. The bozos. Sure, there are a lot of people without power right now and it may be a week or so before it's restored (freezing rain, trees and power lines are a bad mix), but let's keep it in perspective. Those houses are still standing, still habitable (or will be when power is restored), and will be left relatively unscathed when the storm blows over and the snow melts. How many houses in NOLA were left as scrap wood or soaked to the gills in floodwater? Can you tell I don't have very high regard for the local newsfolks? Wink

So, have you ever heard of a weather reporter getting the axe because of a botched weather report, or series thereof?

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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In all fairness, predicting t

In all fairness, predicting the weather can be hard. But yeah, short of murdering the station manager or unleashing profanities on-air, I have a hard time envisioning a TV weather "dude, dudette" getting fired, for bad forcasting.

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woogie's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
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Weather......?

In the words of the great "Hippy Dippy Weatherman" aka George Carlin...
"Tonight's weather forecast is...DARK! Followed by scattered LIGHT in
the morning with MORE LIGHT later in the day!" I don't think that the
"meteorologists" (weather-dudes/dudettes) even get THAT right anymore!

I feel your pain!

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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I hear in Europe they do the

I hear in Europe they do the weather naked. That could make the difference.

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i think the naked news is a s

i think the naked news is a specific channel in just one of the countries. not an entire continent thing. but in brazil, the weather man was killed because he predicted rain for carnivale. he said it would rain. it didnt. attendance was really low, so they blamed the weather man the only way they knew how...death. or was he severely beaten and his family had death threats...cant remember. but its a little extreme for just getting it wrong.

while here in charlotte, we had a weatheguy who was a total retard. his name was mark mathis. i actually started watching the news because iof this guy. he was goofey beyond any level of goofiness anyone has ever brought before. he would sing dance and act like a fool. half the time he wouldnt even say a thiong about the weather. the station manager yelled at him for talking too much, so the next day he did all his casts without saying a word. for halloween he would dress in crazy costumes. he was a goof and basically the front man. we also have a meteorologist who does all the real work. mark was just entertainment. i think he was fired. it was like monday he was on the air. tuesday he was gone. nothing said. maybe it was his song he would sing..." -if you want the weather, go to channel 9!". he worked for channel 18. he would say that all the time. i think he finally rubbed someone the wrong way after a while.

if you havent seen the movie 'Weatherman' with nic cage, go see it. you will laugh you booties off.

peace and love
ande

Reverend Darkness's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 502
It's all politics...

TV news is one of the last true bations of nepotism, second only to radio these days. The decisions to hire and fire are based purely upon the whim of the station manager or news director.

Here in D/FW, we are what's knows as Market #5. That means that the viewing audience is the fifth largest in the entire country. You would think that would mean that the people we get have already paid their dues in smaller markets, then worked their way up: Start in Grand Rapids, move to Seattle, then maybe St. Louis, then BOOM! Dallas/Fort Worth, baby! The problem is that this does not happen.

Let's say a news director leaves Channel 5. A new news directory is hired from Philly. Said news directory will come in and fire someone - anyone - and replace them with someone from his turf... from Philly. This is what happened here a few years ago.

Scott Chesner was a long-time meterologist in the market, and was one of just a handful trained by Harold Taft (Harold could tell you the weather 6 months out and be right, all back in the day when he had to draw his own maps) Anyway, Channel 5 hired a new news directory, and Scott's contract was up... and not renewed. What we get instead is some over-caffinated Philly meteorologist who had never been in a Texas thunderstorm in his life. One day, we had a line of storms moving through (50mph gusts, rain, hail, lightning, upper-level rotation... also know as "Wednesday in the Spring") and the following words actually came out of his mouth during the 6pm news:

"I've never seen anything like this in my life, maaaan..."

Needless to say, experience with weather counts in Texas. There's a difference between "Secure your lawn furniture", "Secure your pets", and "Kiss your own derierre's goodbye cuz it's an F5 and we're all gonna die". I've not watched that monkey-boy forecast or report on the weather since...

Oh... my point... Weather folk don't get fired for forecasting incorrectly... only replaced by somebody's buddy from another market.

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Jon's picture
Jon
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One of the local Chief Meteor

One of the local Chief Meteorologists, Gary Lezak, presented a paper about finding a pattern in storms to predict long term winter-to-spring weather based on data collected up to early November. I guess our guys are trying to move the science forward at least, even if they get the next few days right or wrong... Wink

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Meteorology - the impossible science

I've taken meteorology classes, and one thing is clear... the further away from the present the prediction is, the less likely the prediction will be correct. Seems like common sense, but still, we get that 7 day forcast and the weathermen act like they know what they are talking about. It'd be one thing if they'd just fess up and let us know that all weathermen, pretty much, get their data from the same source, and the simple fact that its just not possible to predict with any clear accuracy what the weather will be like in 3-7 days (there are exceptions, however... like LA... those weathermen seem to always be right... because its always sunny!). this book opened my eyes as to the reasons why: sensitive dependence on initial conditions, and the inability to know to the level of accuracy needed what those initial conditions are.

Remember the Storm of the Century? This is the one from March 1993, I believe they made a movie about how some fishermen were killed in it... anyway, that happened during my Spring Break that semester, when I happened to be studying the weather for the big class project. Started with a Low in the Gulf, and it joined another supercell on its way up the eastern seaboard. I was the only one who did the project that week... everyone else did it the week before or the week after. Yes, they predicted the storm, but not until 24 hours before it hit... and no one predicted its intensity and the havok it would cause (we got 12 foot snow drifts here in sw VA... I think it snowed in Georgia, n FL, too). I wrote my paper on the previous week's seven day forecast, and how long term forecasts are impossible. My professor at the time didn't like that kind of hard truth, and I got a low B.

Well... I now have a little epilogue to that... I took another meteorology course last year and asked the professor about that storm. He told me that the computer models at the time actually DID predict the storm about 6 days in advance to an incredible accuracy... but NO ONE BELIEVED IT, so none of the 7 day forecasts reflected the computer model. Then, after its already hit Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia... it becomes oh, so easy to predict what's going to happen in Pennsylvania, New York and the New England states... but by then its too late: not enough time for a boat 4 days out to get back to safe harbors.