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Charlotte Talks: Weather Forecasting Is Complex, But It's More Accurate Than Ever

Flickr / NOAA

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Weather forecasting has been evolving for centuries, to the point that we're actually pretty good at it. But how does it all work? Mike Collins takes a look under the hood of the complex system that comes up with the forecasts we plan our lives around.

Despite all the grief meteorologists get when a forecast is off the mark, journalist Andrew Blum says weather forecasting is the best it’s ever been. In fact, a study earlier this year found that today’s five-day forecasts are “as accurate as a one-day forecast was in 1980.”

Still, Brad Panovich, NBC Charlotte’s chief meteorologist and one of the top forecasters in the industry, says he and his colleagues have to do a better job of communicating the weather, especially now that hurricane season is upon us.

How has weather forecasting evolved, and how has it gotten to the point of such accuracy? And why do we still not understand what a 50 percent chance of rain means? We look into “The Weather Machine” for some answers.


Andrew Blum, journalist, author of "The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast" (@ajblum)

Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist, NBC Charlotte (@wxbrad)

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