|THE PURPOSE OF A FORECAST
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The purpose of forecasting is to prepare people and businesses from losing money and to enhance human comfort.
Good forecasts pay off economically not by generating large sums of money but rather by preventing the loss of a
large sum of money. Some examples of forecasts saving money include: Warning a car dealership of the likeliness of
hail, Warning the farmer of a potential
damaging freeze, Warning a coastline of a potential
On an individual basis, good forecasts help people plan their day more efficiently and keep them more
comfortable. Tools such as having an umbrella and being properly dressed for the temperatures that day enhance
human comfort. The public is most concerned with precipitation characteristics, temperature trends, very humid/dry
air, sunshine hours,
severe weather and
air quality. The general public is
interested in questions such as:
Do I need to leave for work early?, How do I need to dress? And will I be able to have my outdoor plans?
Private sector forecasts are generated
for clients such as oil refineries, fruit and vegetable growers, cattle ranchers, casinos,
airlines, electric companies, newspapers, and so forth. Each of these clients has tailored needs from a forecast.
Correct forecasts have the potential to save billions of dollars each year when combining legal fees, infrastructure,
saved lives, saved crops, saved time, and saved power. Correctly forecasting hurricane landfalls,
flooding, a severe
weather outbreak and
winter storms along with timely updates while the event is occurring are critical to saving lives,
property and money.