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Are_grits_groceries

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Hometown: SC
Member since: Tue Oct 7, 2008, 07:35 PM
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The problem in Atlanta , Birmingham and other Southern cities.

The NWS gave a warning about the possibility of a 1-3 inches of snow. The teevee stations reporting the weather may or may not have real meteorologists on staff. If they do, they may pick their forecast from a different model. If not, a weather reader will report what is given to them. The NWS was quite clear.

The people who made the decisions about closings relied on one snapshot of the forecast before 6am. These storms are notoriously unpredictable. I was watching my own forecast and it changed constantly. The time the majority of the precipitation would hit, the type of precipitation, and the location of these factors were all in play. The basics stayed somewhat the same, but the details matter in judging for a certain area.

The probability of a shift from South of Atlanta to some other area was high. Any teevee stations that ignored that were stupid. The NWS was clear and the models changed all the time. The NWS reports are the ones relied on I assume. They can't give a forecast with 100% accuracy.

With Atlanta's traffic situation, the number of people that could be affected, and the number of vehicles that would be released on the roads if there were closings should have given all of them pause. The probability of a massive SNAFU were right before them.

For some reason, they bet on the best possible scenario and everybody lost big. All of the factors involved and the volatility of the situation made it a bad bet to say the least. Err on the side of caution. Don't use the best outcome possible and then cross your fingers.

The people who made the decision to open need to be held accountable. THEY are paid to make the call and hopefully with every factor and probability in mind. Safety first should be their aim. Trying to squeeze in enough time to count as another work day or school day is inexcusable. I know this is another factor whether they will say so or not. If they don't know by now that the weather is fickle even from moment to moment then they have stayed in caves.

Anybody considering the forecasts should consider the probability of change too. A decision made before 6am will be based on factors that could change dramatically in an hour or two. Fool me once...
In addition, when they do err on the side of caution and a major problem doesn't materialize, they catch holy hell for wasting time and money. That affects their decisions too. Think of that during any of these problems.

From the President of AWS:
Some in the public, social medial or decision-making positions would “blame” the meteorologists. I began to hear things like “this was not expected in Atlanta” or “they said this was going to all be South of Atlanta” or “there were no Watches or Warnings until snow started falling or “weather is just unpredictable”. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong!

I heard something very familiar within these statements with other recent high impact events.

The weather models produced a great track forecast for Hurricane Katrina days out (2005) yet meteorologists heard whispers that “we didn’t know where it was going.” In recent and deadly 2013 El Reno/Moore/Oklahoma City area tornado outbreaks, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center warned, days to multiple hours in advance, of the threat of tornadoes, yet I still saw media sources and people say, “those tornadoes came without warning." Some models predicted 6 to 9 days out that Superstorm Sandy was going to oddly visit the Jersey Shore, yet people still said "oh no big deal, not a Category 3 hurricane" or worse, didn't evacuate.

Herein, I discuss why our National Weather Service, Television, Academic and Private Sector Meteorologists should be praised not condemned for handling of the Atlanta snow event of 2014. I also conclude with some lessons learned, from my perspective.

1. Watches and Warnings were issued in advance of the snow event and with plenty of time for decisions to be made. Here is text directly from the National Weather Service website on MONDAY at 4:55 am:

CLAYTON-COBB-DEKALB-GWINNETT-HENRY-NORTH FULTON-ROCKDALE-
SOUTH FULTON- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ATLANTA...CONYERS...DECATUR...
EAST POINT...LAWRENCEVILLE...MARIETTA
455 AM EST MON JAN 27 2014

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PEACHTREE CITY HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WARNING FOR LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW...WHICH IS IN
EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO 7 AM EST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER
WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* LOCATIONS...ALL OF THE ATLANTA METRO AS WELL AS AREAS ALONG
INTERSTATE 20 WEST OF ATLANTA AND INTERSTATE 85 EAST OF ATLANTA.

* HAZARD TYPES...SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS...1 TO 2 INCHES.

Early on Tuesday morning well before the crack of dawn (3:39 am to be exact), the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning with expectations of 1-2 inches of snow. Even for the mountain counties of Georgia, Winter Weather Advisories were issued.
http://gonol.es/1iatmnU
Posted by Are_grits_groceries | Wed Jan 29, 2014, 12:04 PM (36 replies)
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