Sensible words for sensible temperatures

Meteorologists have a tendency to show our bias. I happen to be one that prefers warm over cold. Being transplanted in Minnesota, I’m reminded that this is the northland of icy temperatures and snow.

Modifying terms to describe upcoming weather can give a sound bite to the forecast. Such phrases as bitter cold, unseasonably mild, hot and humid, can stand alone without mentioning a temperature. On occasion a forecaster may inadvertently insert their bias when defining the sensible temperature.

As we approach the meteorological start of winter on December first, we’ll begin to immerse ourselves in much colder temperatures. If the overnight low is zero in International Falls, as it was on Thanksgiving morning, would you consider that bitter cold, for the Ice Box of the Nation? If you use bitter cold for a temperature of zero, what’s left when it is minus twenty with a twenty mile an hour wind?

When the mercury climbs from a maximum temperature in the teens to the middle twenties would you call that warmer? In my senior years of forecasting, I’m moved to just deliver the facts, the raw numbers and leave the modifier up to you. The sensible temperature as relates to your own sense.

Weather fact….Abilene, Texas received 3.1 inches of snow on Thanksgiving. So far this month, less than a half inch of snow has fallen in the Twin Cities.


Comments are closed.