Rockford Area Weatherman Apologizes For Getting The Forecast Wrong
This is refreshing, have you ever heard this kind of honesty? "I apologize if I let you down yesterday, but know I'm unhappy about it."
Thursday was a very tricky day when it came to forecasting the weather. If you listened to this station and other media, both social and broadcast, you heard reports of impending doom, due to the freezing rain that was expected to move in as a cold front took temperatures from 54 degrees down to 18 degrees.
School, organizations and businesses closed early and cancelled activities throughout the day on Thursday, in anticipation of the severe weather that was forecast to move in. However, much of the Rockford and surrounding area did not get the ice apocalypse that was feared.
While some areas west of I-39 did receive icy conditions, most areas east of the interstate turned cold, but did not have icy or slippery road conditions.
Longtime NIU Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste also forecast the severe weather, that never materialized. However, he did something you rarely ever hear a weather forecaster do.... admit he was wrong and apologize
On a blog posted on the NIU website, Sebenste details what went wrong.
To put it simply: wind, or the lack thereof. The cold air got to about I-39, and then its eastward progress slowed considerably. That allowed the rain to fall as plain rain...and then, evaporate or run off. Now, why did the wind die off for a few hours? That's what we're trying to figure out. The cold air kept surging eastward, and that resulted in very icy conditions from our western campuses out into eastern Iowa; people on social media and their posts of pictures indicated the National Weather Service winter weather advisory and flash freeze and freezing rain cautions were more than justified, as well as mine.
It's what came next, that surprised me, Sebenste went on to say
Some things occur in meteorology that are so small
and localized that you cannot know something is about to happen (or not). I apologize if I let you down yesterday, but know I'm unhappy about it as well, and using the best data and science I have available to me, I still fell short. The bottom line though, is this: the threat for
something bad to happen was high, and it didn't pan out...this time. Don't let that jade you when the next major event happens.
Hats off to Gilbert!! We appreciate the honesty, that's why we love ya! You can keep up with Gilbert's weather blog from NIU, by clicking HERE.
Meteorology is not an exact science, and often involves some guess work based on data and research. By the way, people in the forecasting business hate it when you say "it must be nice to get paid to be right 50% of the time." Please give your local weatherman a break.