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Chicago snow: When meteorologists attack

 

Quite possibly the best weather tweet I’ve ever seen.

For those of you in Chicago who somehow managed to miss this or if you’re from outside our great city, Brant Miller, meteorologist at NBC 5, went live on the news with the weather map shown in ABC 7 meteorologist Jerry Taft’s tweet.

Miller boldly discussed the possibility of Chicago getting 16 or 17 inches of snow from this most recent storm based on “just in computer model data.” This despite the National Weather Service not yet making a call and ultimately ending up with an official forecast more than 10 inches lower.

Taft, who is known for his conservative snowfall forecasts, surprised everyone with this tweet poking his colleague – and gained a few fans along the way.

 

jerry-taft-304xx1006-1509-286-0Even without any kind of certification or degree (although I am approved to be a severe weather spotter), I can tell you as a weather enthusiast that you never bet the farm on one computer model. Forecasting requires crunching a lot of data and numbers (the reason I didn’t pursue that career path) and it means doing much more than just showing the raw data of one model.

But whether you call it showing off a model or forecasting, the reality is it comes across as irresponsible because people don’t necessarily understand the difference between the two. Later in the newscast, Miller showed the other model that painted significantly less snow. People on Twitter and Facebook questioned the need to highlight one piece of the puzzle so strongly vs. waiting for all the pieces to fall into place.

brantmillermainAs the storm got closer, Miller lowered his forecast and ended up being on the high side of in line with the rest of the weather community. We ended up with a general 2 to 6 inches areawide.

Later, in a tweet to someone discussing official forecasts and models, Taft explained that he respects Miller.

“You get it. It wasn’t a diss on @BrantMillerNBC , I luv Brant. Make your own forecast. If it’s wrong so be it. Don’t blame models.”

There has been no response from Brant Miller, either through his Twitter account or the NBC Storm Team’s account. Miller personally is not good at using Twitter, tweeting pretty irregularly and mostly using it to broadcast quick snippets of forecasts. He also follows zero people, which is a Twitter 101 fail.

Sad, really. It would have been nice to see this Twitter war escalate a bit.

You know, into this.

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