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10 things you should never say to a meteorologist

Last Updated Feb 4, 2020 at 4:44 pm EDT

Let me start this list by saying it’s not coming from a place of anger or frustration, but is a lighthearted look at some of the cliches that weather folks have to deal with on a semi-regular basis.

But does it actually have to come with the territory? Or is it something maybe, just maybe, a few of you will consider the next time you sit next to a meteorologist at the bar?

If you avoid any of these topics, who knows, they might buy you a drink!

1) Must be nice to be wrong half the time and still get paid.

Now this one is just plain lazy and to be quite honest, out of date.

Weather forecasts have become significantly better in recent years and more often than not, the forecasts are pretty spot on. But of course you don’t remember those days do you?

Maybe save this one for your investment manager — were 100 per cent of their stocks a winner?

Or the pregame hosts picking the winners of a football game’s outcome. Did they still get paid?

Pretty sure if you compared our stats side by side I’d come out looking pretty rosy.

2) Is it going to rain on my wedding six months from now?

My answer is always probably.

But here is the truth: I don’t know, no one knows, it is impossible to pinpoint something that specific so far into the future, for that short amount of time.

We are usually happy to help when the event is about seven days out, but don’t ask about it months in advance.

And congratulations on your big day.  If it is open bar, send the invite to:

Meteorologist Adam Stiles
c/o Citytv
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto ON M5B 1B8

3) Ask for the forecast and then say “I guess we will see.”

I always love this one.

You: “Hey Adam, I heard you say last night it is going to rain later.”

Me: “Yeah the rain is just about to move into the west GTA, should be here in about an hour.”

You: “I guess we will see”

I guess we will see Karen! I hope you brought your umbrella.

At some point, you have to actually trust a professional when you ask them for some information within their field of expertise instead of assuming they’re winging it.

4) Is it really going to rain or snow?

Nope, I just put rain in the forecast so there would be fewer golfers on the course.

Are you kidding me? This is not an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. If I put it in the forecast, it is there for a reason.

5) But you said last week…

Here is a weather secret — forecasts change.

A forecast is usually really good about one to two days out, three or four days earlier is okay, and five or 10 days out it’s all about chasing trends and looking for points of interest in the forecast models as something to watch or keep an eye out for.

I can’t tell you the number of times a storm looks big toward the end of the 7 day, people write blog posts about them, and it turns into something very minor. It happens all the time.

That is why I won’t even start talking snow totals until two days before it is supposed to stop. It will just lead to misinformation and confusion, so let’s give it a few days and you will still have plenty of time to prepare.

6) So I hear we are in for a harsh winter or is it going to be a hot summer?

This one is not my favourite. In fact, I tackled this topic in a previous post.

This is simply useless information. How does this help you actually plan your life?

Is it just something to help you mentally prepare for the season or are you out there buying more bags of salt or more sunscreen based on the seasonal outlook?

7) Well the groundhog said…

They are furry little rodents that never went to meteorology school.

Winter is the same length every year — from the Winter Solstice to the Vernal Equinox.

In Toronto, we can get snow as late as May.

Plus the groundhogs are wrong more often then not. Must be nice to have a job where you are wrong half the time and still get paid — in carrots and alfalfa!

8) My app said…

The difference between what your app says and what I put in the forecast is — drum roll please — a human actually looks at my forecast!

That’s right — your app is just spitting out whatever the forecast model that they are using says. That’s model, singular.

My forecast is a combination of what I am seeing between three to five of the major weather forecasting models on a given day. Plus given the 10 plus years I have been watching the weather in the area, there is some local knowledge that the models don’t have.

By limiting it to just one model, you run the risk of it having a bad initialization and spitting out garbage data and a bad forecast. Do you want robots handling your weather forecast?

9) That other weatherperson says this – is that true?

Different forecasters have different backgrounds and training, so have different methods in analyzing the data. Some are better than others at coming to a conclusion from that data.

My forecast is based solely on my interpretations of the weather data for that day.

So the best thing to do as a viewer — find a meteorologist that you trust and stick with them, especially if they have earned that trust.

10) Where is the global warming they are always talking about? (when it’s cold)

Let’s get this right once and for all — there is a huge difference between weather and climate.

Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

Plus, just because it is cold here doesn’t mean it isn’t really hot somewhere else where it shouldn’t be — like over the north and south poles.

Global warming is happening, the climate is changing and in my mind and the mind of most experts in science, it is not up for debate.

It has nothing to do with politics because like the phenomenon itself, the politicizing of it is also man-made.