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March 9, 2023 2:10 pm  #1

Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

Yes, you've read this kind of rant before. And no, nothing seems to have changed. I understand making a long-range forecast is often difficult, but less than 24 hours? I don't buy it. 

I have a morning appt. Friday on a day when another storm is threatening to bring yet more snow to the GTA. To be honest, I have no place left to put it. But in the last two days, I have heard every prediction in the book as to how much we're getting and when. 

Earlier in the week, most of the usual local TV people were warning us another 10-15 cm. was possible. Even the Toronto Star published an article warning of what could be in the offing. About three hours later, they acknowledged they'd changed the copy in that piece and now said that was way too high a prediction. 

Meanwhile, over on TV, Global's Anthony Farnell was appeasing viewers, noting the early alarms were way off, saying instead the most we'd see is 1-3 cm. on the last day before the weekend. And he further stated it likely wouldn't start until the late afternoon, if not after 6 PM.

Skip to Friday morning and the forecast had changed again. One more time, we were told the storm was going to miss Toronto proper and we'd only get a little snow, most of it starting in the "late afternoon." My thing was in the morning, so that was a relief. 

Or was it? By the noon news shows on Thursday, CTV's Lyndsay Morrison was now saying the storm would come in earlier in the afternoon, and we could get up to 10-15 cm. That's a far cry from the 1 or 2 we'd previously been promised. Over to Global, where Liem Vu, sadly not a meteorologist, was blithely telling viewers that the total could be at least 8 cm. And it could start as early as 9:30 am!

WTF! So as I understand it, we are going to get a little snow, but it could be a big amount, it won't start until the evening, unless it starts in the afternoon but only if it doesn't begin in the morning, and it will mostly miss us while we'll still be getting hit by it.  

There. I hope that's clear to all of you. As for me, I still have no idea how much or when. I know this isn't an exact science, but come on - surely they can do better than this! (By the way, as I'm typing this, I just heard Morrison on CFRB's 1 PM news update now predicting 2-5 cm. I give up! Flip a coin. It's liable to be just as accurate. Summer can't come soon enough.)


March 9, 2023 5:46 pm  #2

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

Only if the cloud isn't accurately forecast.

     Thread Starter

March 9, 2023 7:10 pm  #3

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

I'm not sure how radio handles weather accurately, but on the TV side the majority of the TV weather presentations in Toronto use one of the main US based weather forecasting services... WSI or Baron.

CBC News Network has weather presentations on some day parts provided and produced be The Weather Network. It is barter type deal where The Weather Network display a logo from and underwriting sponsor (similar to how CTN provides aerial traffic hits for radio and TV). Nor sure exactly what weather graphics system they use...  CBC uses WSI as well in Toronto for the local Toronto forecast presented by Colette Kennedy. 

WSI is the most popular service for TV weather presentations in Canada.  A few years back WSI was purchased/taken over by IBM. In  CTV/CP24, Global and Rogers/CITY use WSI. Hamilton's CHCH uses BARON.

Both companies are a weather forecasting service. On air presenters do not have to be certified meteorologists. Station presenters just have to call in to the provider and they can get a detailed explanation of the weather conditions/systems affecting their viewing areas. And both service companies also take into consideration the Environment Canada forecasts, and also factor in their own analysis in addition.



March 9, 2023 8:16 pm  #4

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

That's fine and I will say that most of the time they do an OK job. But when I absolutely can't afford a mistake, that's when they always seem to make them. On CFTO's noon show, Lyndsay Morrison presented a map showing where a Special Weather Statement was issued by Environment Canada. She assured viewers Toronto won't be included and we're only in for a few centimetres of snow late in the afternoon.

Cut to 6 PM. All of a sudden, we're presented with the same map, only now Toronto IS in the warning zone. And now the snow is arriving around 9 AM, instead of the afternoon or evening when it was first predicted days before. It's only six hours later. How could it possibly change that much? 

I also watched Global's 6 PM, this time with meteorologist Anthony Farnell. He, too, included the warning that was not there at noon, and he said the snow will start in the later part of the morning - which is not what Morrison said. 

I just want to know why, this close to the actual day, they can't settle on an agreed forecast. If, as you say, the information is coming from the same place, how is that possible? Who do you believe? In my case, the answer is I no longer believe any of them. It also annoys me that they never refer to their previous forecasts just hours before and explain why it's changed. It's as though it never happened. 

I wish I could just forget any of my mistakes at work and pretend I never did them. This happens way too often.

Which way is the wind blowing? Don't ask any of these clowns. I'm not sure they could tell you in advance.  

     Thread Starter

March 10, 2023 9:16 am  #5

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

As long as this is already rant-like, can I plead with radio and TV weather presenters to please, please stop saying "Don't put your winter coat (or alternately "your snowbrush") away just yet..." 

I would invite them to find me a single person who has ever undergone a winter in Southern Ontario who does either of those in February or March. 

I heard a CFRB newscaster say this again on Friday morning. It's meant to sound conversational but the truth is, it's a ridiculous cliche and it just sounds dumb.

     Thread Starter

March 10, 2023 9:32 am  #6

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

Honestly, the things some people obsess over.
Any meteorologist will tell you that a forecast is simply an educated guess.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.


March 10, 2023 11:36 am  #7

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

I saw a headline on my phone yesterday that screamed "GTA to receive 4-20 cm of snow Friday" I thought ok the city of Toronto will get the 4 cm. The folks that live north of Hwy 7, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Niagara will receive closer to the 20 cm. As I look out the window of my North York apt. mid Friday morning no snow, no flurries. Just a typical March grey sky. I guess the snow will arrive in time for tonights rush hour drive home. Great lead 6pm story. All those 401 fender benders and live reports of vehicles trying to get up the Avenue Rd. hill north of St. Clair.


March 10, 2023 1:14 pm  #8

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

Lunchtime in North York. The snow has arrived!


March 10, 2023 11:41 pm  #9

Re: Is It Possible To Get Accurate Wx. Forecasts On Local Media, Pt. III

I watch 2 of the local CTV news channels where I live and meteorologist Julie Atchison has been there for so long. She does an amazon job at the weather just like Jay Campbell when he retired from CFPL-TV in 2009. But at CTV Kitchener they do not have a weather meteorologist. Instead they have a weather specialist and Will Aiello who came from CTV Northern Ontario. He always smiles when doing the weather he does a fantastic job too. But it is hard to pick what local CTV station has the best weather coverage on TV where I live.