Opinion: Don't expect forecasters to get it right every time

Ben Hawke. Photo: ODT files
Ben Hawke. Photo: ODT files
Many people in this world and especially in this country irritate me.

You have most of the people on the Dunedin News Facebook group, you have the kid in my class that never shuts up and the other one that looks like the Geico Gecko (he's my friend), you have “news” outlets like Daily Mail and, lastly, you have people that expect perfect forecasts from forecasters like we’re oracles or the Norns from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard.

I have gathered some comments and articles of people and the media over-hyping things (mostly weather-related), being cynical or plain absurd.

Anyone else getting the feeling we’re being stuffed around when it comes to the constant severe thunderstorm warnings for Dunedin.

Dunedin is surrounded by relatively high mountains. You have the three 700m high Silver Peaks, Maungatua and further back the Rock and Pillar range. That means that the thunderstorms from Central Otago struggle to reach us. Some do form near Lake Mahinerangi and that is mainly how Dunedin gets it's few electrical storms. Also, the temperatures are more moderate in a coastal city so the updraughts needed for a storm to form are rarer

Secondly, people do far too much comparing of different forecasters.

There is really no way to justify doing this. Of course, I am going to have a slightly different forecast to say, Scarfie Weather or Otago Weather Updates because we all have different local knowledge and microclimates. I especially hate when it’s directed at MetService or Niwa weather because they don’t even have a fair chance without a radar or someone on the ground. I think the national agencies are best to listen to for rough temperatures and warnings. To round this off, local is best, national forecasts are good with a grain of salt and weather forecasters are great if they stay in their lane.

Thirdly, Daily Mail

I guess you could call the daily mail my pet peeve. I wholeheartedly believe it is the worst news-gossip outlet in the world, even worse than the NZHerald on a slow news day. They make Britain look worse than the Gallipoli campaign did. Their headlines are like this: Random Citizen BREATHES while performing various human functions on a SUB ZERO MORNING during big British CHILL. I laughed out loud when I saw their Gita headline: New Zealand blasted by heavy dump of SNOW as ex-cyclone Gita wreaks havoc and turns weather patterns on their head. That makes it sound like people in Auckland are trudging through feet of snow. And, alpine snow is quite normal in late summer 

Lastly, attacking forecasters or being plain edgy

People seem to love blaming forecasters. There's an uproar when something isn't forecasted enough and uproar when someone over forecasts. Probably the worst thing is that they always use screenshots of the computer generated forecast, which is never touted as correct.

I don’t really know the point of this article, it's 12.30am and I just had this idea. I think it has some good points, hope you enjoyed.



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