Need Some Weather?

via ryanhanrahan.files.wordpress.com

via ryanhanrahan.files.wordpress.com

I think I’ve called Accuweather 100 times in my time at the Chronicle, so far. Instead of using what the local stations tell us, we rely on calling a weather service center for our weather. It lets people get their weather from a really reliable source.

Of course, there are other weather services that we could use, but, now, I know most of Accuweather’s meteorologists. They know me by name and voice now, too.

People want to know what’s going to happen with the weather and, as the local paper, we have a responsibility to make sure it’s in our weather stories. I’m not a weatherman and, to be honest, I really don’t understand weather too much. So, we rely on others to tell us what will happen. If it sounds weird, it is.

I do use the National Weather Service, but that’s usually just for warnings and special events (mainly fluke superstorms).

You don’t really have to know much about the weather to get what you are looking for. Being experts, all you have to do is ask the right questions. You are usually writing the story before, during or after a major/substantial weather event, so the meteorologists know the drill. From what I’ve experienced, they answer most questions almost immediately. It’s still important to remember what questions to have in the back of your head, just in case they aren’t answered.

Those questions would include (depending on the storm or incoming weather):

  • What are temperatures going to be for the next 48 hours? Make sure you get the highs and lows. For some reason, people really, really want to know.
  • What kind of wind can people expect?
  • How much precipitation? (snow, rain, sleet)
  • When will the precipitation start and stop?
  • Do you think any major records will be broken?
  • What can people expect in the next three to four days? (With snow, that’s even more important)

None of this is incredibly hard. For me, it’s a nice change of pace.

The best part about Accuweather?

They are open 24/7 every day. You can call as soon as you get into work and not have to worry about anything on deadline. It’s pretty sweet. It gives you quotes before you even start writing the story sometimes. It definitely relieves a bit of stress.

Jonathan

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4 Responses to Need Some Weather?

  1. Christine says:

    Meteorology is also the only where scientists can predict the future, be wrong, and it’s understood as a part of life.

    • Christine says:

      only area*

    • It’s getting to the point where EVERY storm is hyped up to the point that we, at the paper, have to do a weather story because people are freaking out about what could happen.

      With this upcoming storm, I have no idea what’s going to happen. There is consensus and when they are wrong on Thursday, it’s just business as usual. It’s really annoying/frustrating.

      Thanks for commenting!!!!! 🙂 miss ya

      -Jonathan

  2. Leuchten says:

    I am always happy when I find such a contributory

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