First, kudos to you. You’ve amassed weather talent the way the Yankees acquire career .300 hitters.
You’ve also done a good job positioning the cast of seemingly likable guys as a team to be reckoned with. Who can claim deaf ears when baritone Tom Barnard intones, “If it wasn’t for that, the KSTP team couldn’t have predicted a day like today.” It gives a viewer chills, much as the graphic of the four stalwart forecasters in Mount Rushmore repose does.
But we’re wondering about the team concept, and more importantly, whether you’re aware that recent “mixed forecasts” are confusing us poor viewers.
Specifically, we refer to the Dahl-Barlow tandem whose presentations overlap through the myriad of KSTP evening newscasts. Several times recently, as documented by commenters to minnesotaforecaster.com, their predictions have been significantly different. What’s a viewer to make of this?
A good example of this took place on Monday evening. Dave, in both his online commentary and on-air presentation, predicted “at least a couple of inches here” on Wednesday. This prediction was a clear outlier in comparison to all other local forecasters, where most mentioned snow showers and flurries. We were curious what Ken would say when it came his time to forecast. Would he follow the station line and predict the same as the chief meteorologist or would his forecast be more consistent with others in town? (It was the latter.)
This same generally confusing scenario played out late last week when Ken stated, “No major storms in sight,” while Dave stated, “Big storm possible next week.” The situation was aptly summarized by a tweeter who said, “Same station, no agreement. Who’s right?”
It’s perfectly understandable that individual forecasters come to different conclusions. We all should know that forecasting is part science and part art. But KSTP goes to great pains to convince us it’s a team effort, yet these inconsistencies leave us to wonder.
Forecasters and the forecasting community often, and correctly, fault the viewer/consumer for lumping them all together under “they,” as in “they called for 4 inches of snow or they called for 50 degrees.” In reality, of course, they got confused by what they heard, from whom and when.
But when one evening KSTP forecaster predicts “at least several inches of snow” and another says “maybe an inch” just minutes later, the station itself is creating the confusion. It makes us question whether there is collaboration or even an attempt at forming a consensus.
Loyal viewers and weather watchers
P.S. Why does Ken Barlow always look like he’s racing to catch the bus when he not-so-gracefully exists the extended forecast screen?