Besides predicting the weather, meteorologists are expected to tell people what to do about it

The Wall Street Journal

This has been a tough year for meteorologists. Forecasting technology has improved -- "A one-day forecast comes within three degrees of hitting the mark, on average; a three-day forecast is usually accurate within four degrees" -- but meteorologists still can't predict the exact intensity of hurricanes or precisely where a storm will dump snow or rain. Adding to the pressure, "people increasingly look to meteorologists not only to predict the weather, but to tell them what to do about it," Sue Shellenbarger writes. "When Hurricane Irene roared up the Atlantic seaboard in August, dozens of anxious people asked meteorologist Elliot Abrams where to park their cars or how much food to buy. Mr. Abrams, a senior vice president with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pa., broadcast hurricane updates on 15 radio stations and responded to callers who wanted to know, 'Should I board up my windows?' " || Related: Hurricane Irene provides window into The Weather Channel’s info-tainmentIrene generated most coverage of any hurricane since PEJ started tracking news in 2007

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.

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