Weatherman Confidence

Justin, of WKRN’s weather team, gave me a giggle when I read his online forecast for today and tomorrow.

At the end of his brief narriative of what was expected, he added:

Areas that see snow (which won’t be everyone) may pick up a quick coating to a half-inch of snow, but our confidence in widespread accumulation isn’t very high.

I can remember when confidence in weather forecasting was anything less than something to have confidence in. In fact, if the weatherman said “no accumulation” you knew to set out the rock salt and snow boots.

Bob Lobertini, weatherman for WLAC way back when I was a sprout, got it wrong more often than he got it right.  But, he was a popular personality on air and around town and everyone loved him, or loved to hate him.

And, it was Lobertini who opened my eyes and heart to the wonders of weather.  With his limited ability to forecast – remember, this was back in the (19)50’s and 60’s when they didn’t have all this radar imagery and satellite coverage – he did what he could to alert us to changing weather, and he made it fun and interesting at the same time.

I developed a keen interest in weather and learned to watch weather patterns – a hobby that occupies me even now.

In the 70’s Lobertini left our area and moved to California.  My dad said that was a good place for him…the weather was either sunny and cool, foggy and cool, or rainy and cool…depending on the time of day it was and the season. It would be hard to get it wrong.

I hated to see him go.  It was like losing a childhood friend. His was a familiar face.   I trusted him.

In Lobertini’s absence, I ventured away from dependence upon someone else’s thoughts about what the forecast would be and learned about weather patterns. This was before the advent of internet and personal computers and required actual book work and library visits.

I thought I had died and gone to Heaven when I discovered The Weather Channel and NOAA Weather.

With the arrival of The Weather Channel (TV and online) and NOAA Weather (online and radio), forecasting days in advance and hour to hour for the next 24 hours is possible.

However, it’s still a lot of guesswork the farther you get from “let me look out and see what the weather is doing.”

And, that is reflected in Justin’s comment: “our confidence in widespread accumulation isn’t very high.”

Even with all the high tech weather doo dads, it’s still a lot of guess work, and when it all comes down to what the weather’s going to do…we all have to wait and see.

Just so you know…after reading Justin’s comment…my boots stand by the front door and my container of rock salt graces my kitchen table.

Just saying….

2 thoughts on “Weatherman Confidence

  1. It was really nice to read about Bob Lobertini here on your blog. On a lark I just now did a search to see if there was anything about him on the web. My father, Mike Powell, worked with him when he was the weatherman on KPIX news in San Francisco. My father did the consumer reports. He never much liked television work, and much preferred radio, in which he had worked for many years, because he thought it was a more pure form of news reporting, whereas TV news was half show biz. He also wasn’t crazy about his fellow newscasters on KPIX, except he loved Bob, whom he found funny, smart and great — both on the air and in real life. My siblings and I were very sad when we heard the news of his passing. Thanks for this blog.

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