Weather Whys: Why do meteorologists have different forecasts?

Weather Whys: Why do meteorologists have different forecasts?

A question that has come up a little more this winter was asked by Ferdinand in the next Weather Whys segment: "Why do meteorologists on different stations have different forecasts." The answer on the surface seems simple - we work for different companies and therefore do not discuss the forecast together. But on a deeper level - why are forecasts between meteorologists different at all?

It has to do a lot with the weather models we use to forecast. Think of the models like a plinko game. The puck you drop into the game at the top is your current conditions and all the different paths it can take are your forecast models. From 10 days out that could mean anywhere from no snow to 12". But as you get closer and closer to the bottom your options start to decrease.

Oftentimes in the winter even a day or two out from a snow event you will still have a difference in weather models by a couple of inches. Some meteorologists prefer and trust certain weather models over others. Other meteorologists like to take straight averages and still others use a combination. This can cause some differences between meteorologists but in general most of the forecasts from different stations in southeast Wisconsin are within a couple inches of each other.

Weather Whys is a segment by Meteorologist Justin Thompson-Gee that airs during the CBS 58 News on WMLW - The M from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The segment answers viewer weather questions, explains weather phenomena and reveals interesting weather stats. To submit your question reach out to Justin on Facebook, Twitter or by emailing him at [email protected].

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