It’s okay to say you just don’t know as a forecaster

There seem to be two taboos in the weather forecasting business.

#1 Never admitting when you are wrong.

#2 Never say you don’t know.

Not only are both false, they actually make you a worse forecaster.

I’ve blogged before about how accurate we actually are compared to what people think, but we will never be 100% accurate. So when you get it wrong, you admit it and you learn from it. The only thing worse than busting a forecast is not learning from it. Show me a good forecaster and I’ll show you someone who has learned from a busted forecast. Like the quote from Batman says, 2016-08-24_21-28-45

It’s okay to get it wrong just try to keep it to a minimum and reduce the error to as small as possible. My daily goal as a meteorologist.

There is something else we need to do more of, say we don’t know when we actually don’t know.  It’s not a sign of being a bad meteorologist at all. There are times it’s as important to tell your viewers and public what you don’t know as much as what you do know.

Invest 99l is a prime example right now. There are things we do know like where it is and the general area it is moving into over the short term. There are way more things that we don’t know. Like where it will actually form a low-level center? Where it will go and how strong it could be? We have some general ideas for sure, but mostly we just don’t know! You know what, that is ok because it’s still far away, and it hasn’t even formed yet! Sometimes I am shocked people try to pinpoint the exact location of a storm 7-10 days from now. When it’s not even an actual storm yet? This is like asking Google Maps to show you how to get home when you don’t put the address and current location in!

So just beware of those that say a “Triple Threat to the East Coast” Or “A Hurricane will hit this exact spot 10 days from now.” They are lying to you and worst off they are deterring you from listening to real threats that may actually be coming.