The National Weather Service screws me over

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January 23 snowstorm wind data in Central ParkUpdate April 29, 2016- Folks, I have lived through blizzards. They are dangerous with high winds. If you walk outside, you risk death.

The January heavy snowfall we had was not a blizzard. The winds were too light and kids were outdoors sledding. That is why the National Weather Service did not officially call the storm a blizzard (see below).

However, as promised, they have come out with their final verdict, and have now changed their minds, labeling it a blizzard. I called them asked whether the data had changed or whether they simply changed their minds. It was the latter.

Nothing in the data changed. The wind data did not justify the blizzard label, but the weather geeks have succumbed to media pressure. The TV news weatherquacks even have given the storm a name.

I am going to appeal this to the Second Circuit.

Update February 7, 2016- CBS News’ Lonnie Quinn is now admitting on Twitter that the big storm was not a blizzard. He tweeted, “yup. Still haven’t found that 1 more “LESS than 1/4 mile visibility” reading. Everything else is documented. Without it: a big storm”

Update January 26, 2016- I had a 20-minute discussion with the head of the National Weather Service, Ross Dickman (audio below). He confirmed that they have not adjudicated the January 23rd storm to be a blizzard and that they will not make a final ruling for several months. He also admitted that the wind measuring device in Central Park is “well known to not be representative of the city” because of its placement on a castle and local air currents.

The bottom line is that if the NWS cannot call this a blizzard in New York City, then the TV people certainly should not be doing so. They are hyping “blizzard” because it is what the people want to hear.

January 26, 2016- by Steven E. Greer

So, I thought that I had put this blizzard controversy to rest when the WSJ and NYT agreed with me that the huge storm was actually not a blizzard, but the TV people are still calling it a blizzard. CBS’ Lonnie Quinn and I have been going back and forth. He sent me to the National Weather Service people.

The NWS, as of now, has NOT adjudicated the storm as a blizzard, yet. However, Bill Goodman of the NWS told me, “We will have to look at this and make a decision later this week.”.

Lonnie directed me to the NWS data he used to categorize the storm as a blizzard (see above). He is pointing to the gusts above 35-MPH, rather than the sustained winds. I argue that none of the gusts were back to back for three hours, and the sustained wind measurements were more indicative of what was really going on. It was a peaceful snowfall that just never let up. It was not a deadly blustery Nor’easter.

I am also in the process of trying to interview Lonnie for BatteryPark.TV. We might make history by having a conference call with the NWS, pinning them down on this blizzard status.

To be or not to be…..

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One Response to The National Weather Service screws me over

  1. Nick Paumgarten says:


    I’ve enjoyed this.

    I am a weather nut and hate the storm hysteria that consumes the media every go around, but I hadn’t realized that blizzard was a technical term. Now I know, and am glad for it.

    (See here a funny old piece by my colleague Ben McGrath about the erroneous use of the term “nor’easter.”

    Nick Paumgarten
    The New Yorker

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