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Weather It's True-Forecasting

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - For the first timers on "Weather It's True", I - Clay Ostarly - take questions from you, the viewer, and answer them to the best of my ability. I receive plenty of phone calls and emails saying "we were wrong" about our forecast and for this reason, I have turned the tables and instead of you asking me, I'm going to ask you,"what do you think goes into a meteorologist's research to draw up a forecast?"

I got a lot of interesting responses such as:

"I think you just pull stuff out of a hat like a wizard, cast a spell, and see how cold it's going to be."

"eggs, bacon, and hot dogs."

"I think you all get together and have a big meeting and when the guys up north say 'it's cold' in about 3-4 days y'all say it's going to be cold down here too."

Now I wish it was as easy as flipping a coin or pulling things out of a hat but it's not. Our research starts hours in advance of the upcoming show. We look at raw model data and we translate it for you to understand, such as maps that show barometric pressure, upper level winds, and temperatures from the surface all the way up into the upper atmosphere or satellite imagery that shows clouds and water vapor loops that shows the moisture in the air.

Believe or not the best tool is a meteorologist's eyes and ears and the experience to make judgement calls against model data. Even you, the viewer, can contribute greatly to a forecast by sending in storm reports of what you see.

Through all of these tools and research, forecasting accuracy is about 85% to date and the key point to understand is that meteorology is not an exact science. It's constantly changing and for that reason, a forecast may differ from one day to the next but hardly ever by a couple degrees.

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