We had a weather situation yesterday where most of the region was in six or seven. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth issued a severe weather watch until 10 p.m. that included a warning for hail bigger than a baseball. That didn’t happen. Not anywhere near Dallas. Then, oddly enough, tornado warnings sounded under mostly clear skies for parts north and east of Dallas.big bob wironski tweets Many people have expressed their dismay, including one whose work requires waking up at 2am.
So today I emailed NOAA Fort Worth with the following question:
“I feel like I’ve had some version of the same conversation I’ve had many times recently with friends and colleagues. Thrust: ‘We can’t predict the weather anymore. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. Especially phone apps. At this point, they’re all Appears useless. For example, last week and this week, the Apple app was calling for a 40% storm all day long. Never happened – until it happened. Last Saturday I was greeted. So here’s my Question: What the heck? Is there really some kind of change that is making it harder to predict the business? Or is it just me?”
Short answer: yes and no.
Longer answer: In response to my email, I got a call from Jason Dunne. He’s a meteorologist in the Fort Worth office. He told me that the weather patterns we’re in right now are “really, really unpredictable.” Summer in North Texas typically means humidity and light winds, Dunn said. But lately we’ve had more spring-like winds above the surface, and our “hats” have been, um, not that big? I struggled to keep up with what he was saying. Regardless, he said, “this adds complexity to the forecast that we don’t typically see at this time of year.”
Conditions were favorable for the storm yesterday, Dunn said, “but it didn’t move westward like we thought it would.” He noted that folks in the northeast of our metro area did get some big weather.
One last thing: Dunn said he doesn’t use a weather app on his phone. If you’re checking the hourly forecast on your phone, it’s pretty much useless, he said. “We’re just not that good,” he said.
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