|THE SEVERE WEATHER AND STORM FACTOR
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
The greatest interest in weather and meteorology as a whole deals with severe weather and storms. Perhaps over 90% of the interest
in weather deals with severe weather, storms and unusual weather events. This writing goes over the good reasons the interest is
so influenced toward these factors.
DESTRUCTION / LOSS OF LIFE: One primary factor for this disproportionate interest is the damage and risk to life that these storms pose. Thus,
tornadoes are perhaps the highest interest on the list due to the violent weather they can bring. Wind storms, hail storms, hurricanes, lightning
storms, flash floods and blizzards are other example of weather events that get a very high interest due to the risks they pose.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Another factor is the awe that the storms can provide. This makes weather photography very popular. One of the first things
a person will think of when a storm is described is, “are there pictures or video?”. This has lead to many people becoming passionate
storm spotters and chasers. Almost always will they take cameras to capture the event.
ADRENALINE: Compared to forecasting for a typical day, a severe weather or storm day is going to produce much more interest, scrutiny
and detail. This extra focus captivates the mind, gets the adrenaline pumping and brings out a strong effort. Whether it be a storm
chaser, broadcast meteorologist, computer systems meteorologist, NWS forecaster, military meteorologist, or Weather Channel meteorologist,
etc., severe weather and storms will spark a huge extra motivation. Knowing that exponentially many more people will be paying
attention to the forecast also gets the adrenaline flowing.
MARGIN OF ERROR: If on a typical weather day the forecast is for a high of 60 F and the high is 65 F, little will be talked about it. However,
on a severe weather and storm day, errors in the forecast will be much more analyzed and noticed. This provides extra motivation to
produce a good forecast. The forecast will be followed by many more people. Whether it be a snow forecast, severe weather forecast,
flood forecast, tornado forecast, etc., the public will pay extra close attention to the numbers forecasted for
these big storm events.
CHANGES IN PLANS: Nothing can change plans like a big weather event. On big weather days, whatever the public had their minds on
will be shifted to the weather. Changes in school plans, work plans, vacation plans, travel plans, outside plans, etc., will be
highly impacted by the weather. This makes storm and severe weather days much more memorable. With such a dramatic shift in plans,
the public will be looking to meteorologists and public officials for guidance on how to plan their day when storm day arrives!
METEOROLOGY KNOWLEDGE: The information gained from investigating storms can be used to learn more about them and can help produce better
forecasts and warnings. Photos and radar data can be used to gain a greater understanding of storm structure.