Thoughts On A Blown Call…

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This morning’s rains account for everything we’ve had in the rain gauge this month so far…so it was welcome relief from the very dry conditions.  And though the rainfall amounts in parts of the metro were impressive, the deficit in deep soil moisture is still a big problem. So the grass got a good drink…but the mature trees and crops that got missed could still use a lot more.

Here’s a look at the rain track from last night:This is the radar estimate of the total rainfall from last night’s event.  The bright red and pink correlates to 2″+ rainfall totals…and the new dual pole radar does a much more accurate job of rainfall depiction.

Now the track of the heaviest rains across Northeast Kansas show how the mid level cap remained strong…preventing a southward turn in the storm track.  If you read last night’s blog you know that I expected the cap to remain strong enough to keep that track across the north part of the metro…and didn’t think the complex would turn south this far west. Luckily, the mid level winds weakened enough to allow the outflow of air from the storms to turn southward over the Metro area, and the result was a good soaker that I was worried we might miss.

I do have to defend myself a bit  as I’ve had some people accuse me of saying that there was 100% chance we would get no rain in Kansas City…and that is NOT what I said at all. The problem with forecasting weather on television is that what you actually say…and what is perceived by the viewer sometimes don’t match up. It’s like that old game where you sit in a circle and whisper a sentence into the next person’s ear…and by the time you get around the circle…the sentence is something completely different.  I did say that our chances did not look as good here as areas just to our north.  And I said that because the cap appeared to be holding…and for areas just 30 miles to our southwest…that was accurate…they didn’t get a drop. But for the metro…that calculation was obviously off…and the fortunate result was a nice rain that was desperately needed.

I looked back at my forecast sheets and we’ve been carrying the chance for rain for Sunday night/Monday morning in our forecast for 7 days…it was in the Long Ranger on June 4th…the first day that today appeared on our Long Ranger! So it’s not like the rain was never in the forecast…it always has been….but the precise movement was in question even into the evening hours last night.

Sometimes you have to stick your neck out a bit and make a decision.  When you are under a deadline you don’t have the luxury of waiting to see what happens…you have to make a call very publicly. That’s the fun and the challenge of the job.  You have to live with tough decisions at times. I think most people get that…and most understand that we do the very best we can to pinpoint events. I run into wonderful people all over town who know that forecasting is tough.   It’s very easy to armchair quarterback anything that is difficult…when it’s not your neck on the line.  That’s our job…and sometimes we miss when the error is glaring. Most  times we are 100% right and nobody notices.The bottom line is…I am not in control of the weather…Lord knows I wish I were…it would be a lot easier!  One of my favorite lines is from the the movie “Rudy”…it goes…”there are two incontrovertible truths…there is a God…and I am not him”


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