NBC12 VIEWPOINT: Why Forecasts Matter

By: Kym Grinnage email

Snow has dominated the national and local news over the past week and for good reason. Media outlets and especially TV stations really hear it from the viewers when we may miss the mark on a severe weather forecast, and at this time of year, severe weather is spelled S-N-O-W!!!

The "S" word has a great deal more significance in the south than it does in the north, for obvious reasons, but the best way to avoid a totally meltdown is to plan, plan and plan some more. I can personally attest to the huge improvement in readiness on the part of Central Virginia. 15 years ago, the region's reaction to the last two snow events would have been at epic proportions. Now we respond like a region that is prepared.

A few things were at play in some of our more southern markets this past week: weather forecasts, plans and regional cooperation. For days in advance, the majority of the TV stations in the hardest hit southern markets were forecasting that severe weather was coming. Trust me I know, because we have Raycom sister TV stations in Alabama and Georgia. Many local jurisdictions did not have contingencies in place and the results were apparent.

The lesson in all of this is that a forecast provides an opportunity to prepare. Media outlets work overtime so that everyone has an opportunity to be ready. Yes there will be times when Mother Nature is kinder and gentler, but we should never take a forecast and the opportunity to plan for granted.

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