Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Probabilistic vs Deterministic Messaging

This past Winter, our office (TFX) participated in the NWS' prob snow experiment. For those who might not be familiar with what that is or what it involved, it was a way to experiment with utilizing snowfall probability information within operations and decision-support activities. Perhaps in another post I'll ponder the good and the bad about the experiment, itself. But, for now, I wanted to take it a different direction.

Related to that experiment, a question was probabilistic or deterministic information better when it comes to messaging? At its core, this question is part of a larger and ongoing debate related to the effective communication of weather hazards. That debate is a fascinating and challenging one, but is probably too long for one post. For now, I'll just address the one piece of the puzzle that focuses on probabilistic vs deterministic messaging.

When it comes to snowfall amounts, what do we often see? Ranges. And, we seem to gravitate toward certain ranges at that. 1-3", 3-6", 6-12". If you are one of those rebel types, you might even use 2-5" or 3-7". Oh the humanity...

The interesting (note I said interesting and not necessarily bad) part about the end-user's use of ranges is the seemingly automatic focus on the high number. Knowing the worst-case scenario isn't a bad thing in of itself, but how it's used can be. Just before a winter storm a couple months ago, a friend of mine texted me and said, 'Hey! I heard we are supposed to get 7" of snow'. The winter product from our office said something to the effect of 2-4" with isolated amounts up to 7", if I remember correctly. My friend read that as we are getting 7" of snow. I doubt he was alone in that assessment.

I often give ranges when messaging upcoming snowfall events and I am not here to argue against that. My end-game is to think through the different possibilities. Recently, I decided to give the ole probability method a try. Prior to a winter event, a caller asked how much snow we expected for her area. With experimentation on the brain, I boldly informed her that there was an 80% chance of exceeding 4" at her house. To which she replied, 'So, do you think we might get a foot?'.

The sample size on my little experiment is incredibly small. But, how much would you be willing to wager against her response representing a large part of the population? One thing that stuck out to me in her response was the 12" amount. After talking with her more, I got the sense that 12" is when she starts having problems in her world. It's the point when her daily plans change. I believe that is why her mind immediately jumped to a foot. For her, my arbitrary percentage-greater-than-x-amount didn't help. Now, had I given her the probability of exceeding 12", well that could have been a different story. Would she have been able to interpret it effectively? I don't know.

When it comes to the general public, the thresholds for when action is taken is all over the place. That lady's threshold was 12". A recent transplant from the South would probably have a different response. So where does that leave us as Meteorologists? In a very challenging position. We have a responsibility to message hazardous weather, but to a group of people who don't even share a common breaking point.

On the flip side, we have individuals or groups (DOT, emergency managers, etc) that often DO have specific thresholds that we can know. I watched an enlightening presentation recently that looked at the potential effectiveness of probability information for decision-makers like the DOT. I get the sense that probability messaging works great for them. Honestly, I believe it could work great for the general public as well. The challenge is our inability to know each and every person's breaking point.

One part of the prob snow experiment that I really liked was that it gave probability information for several breaking points (2", 4", 6", 8", 12", 16"). We may not be able to know all thresholds, but we can certainly try to cover as many as possible in our messaging, within reason. But, that's just snow. What about rain, hail size, tornadoes, tornado strength, etc? Do we say "this storm will produce up to golf ball size hail" or "there is an 80% chance of exceeding quarter size hail?". I'm not sure a warning product is the place to put a lot of probability wording, if nothing else but for the sake of time/understanding. Imagine The Weather Channel scrolling the probability of multiple thresholds, or hearing those probabilities being read over Weather Radio broadcasts/statements?

My answer to the question of probabilistic or deterministic? The verdict is still out, but I imagine it involves some sort of a mix that relates to the known users, the product, and the event. I don't know if there will come a time when all of our messages are completely understood, used correctly, and heeded, but working through and experimenting with this piece of the puzzle is beneficial to the larger discussion regarding effective communication. In the spirit of probabilistic messaging, I will inform you that there is a 100% chance that I will blog more about effective communication down the road...

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My VTEC Coding is Changing

Warming temperatures following an active and very snowy winter = flooding. I've put out more Flood Warnings in the past 3 days than I have the past 3 years. RiverPro isn't the most user-friendly product generator, which means a lot of extra QC of the VTEC coding. That got me thinking about the "VTEC coding" of my life and how it is about to be changed.

I recently accepted a position with the NWS office in Wichita, KS, so perhaps this would fall under the continuation (CON) category? It is quite the exciting change for my family and I. Career-wise, my focus in research, projects, etc has often revolved around convection, and what a great opportunity and location for continuing that! But, as exciting as this "CON" is, I would be remiss to not look back at the past 3 years. Just like when continuing a would be remiss to not look back at what the storm has been doing up to this point.

When I came to Great Falls, I could not believe how fortunate I was to get the opportunity to work for the NWS. I still look back on that time and am so grateful. When I walked through the doors of TFX 3 years ago, I had no idea what was ahead. In a few weeks, I will walk out the doors of Great Falls a changed man.

I know, I know, that sounds so cliche...and I am not a big fan of phrases like that. However, this one could not be more true. See, I came to Great Falls being very particular about many things, both in the field of Meteorology and in my personal life. Wow did I ever get punched in the face in that area! Some things are worth being more picky about, but it's just not healthy to pick every battle. I picked a lot of battles in the beginning and I regret that. But, through some coaching and tough experiences, I came to realize just how picky I was. It blew my mind. I never fully realized I was that way. So much so, I ended up apologizing to my family and close friends, many years after the fact, for how picky I had been. Have I perfected the issue? Nope. But, I am much more aware of it which has helped me to be more intentional about being careful to let some things go. Life is just so much less stressful when you can learn to let certain things go. It's worth the try...

Also, it turns out, I have struggled with communication, fear, and self-confidence issues. Some of those struggles I was more aware of, but didn't necessarily know the best way to address them. Let's just say the past 3 years have been like going back to college. Only this time my major was "Becoming a Better Man, Husband, Dad, and Co-Worker". Some of the courses were pretty intense, but SOOOO worth it. another cliche phrase, my life will never be the same after my time here in Great Falls.

Being able to serve people through working with the NWS is a dream come true. Little did I know just how important this dream would be in my life. It has given me the opportunity to read more, to spend more time with my family, to be challenged and to grow as a Meteorologist, to be challenged and grow as a husband/Dad/co-worker, and also to cross paths with people who have had a profound impact on me.

As my family and I head to Kansas, I go there not as a perfected man. Rather, I go there with an improved understanding of my strengths and weaknesses and how to better address the areas where I fall short, while being humbly confident in the areas where I excel. Perhaps there were many different paths to ICT, and hindsight is 20/20, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Impact of an Active Pattern

WPC recently tweeted about one way to view the severity of a winter season. Notice on the map the "Severe" and "Extreme" categories showing up over Montana. The pattern we have been in lately and, seemingly, much of the winter has been very active across the state, including much of our CWA. I very much enjoy active weather patterns and I will venture to say that many others in this field do as well. But, extended periods of active weather can take its toll.

Our ongoing stretch of active weather more or less started back in early October when our northern counties were dumped on by a heavy, wet, and damaging snowstorm. We've had breaks, some longer than others, but then we'll get a barrage of shortwaves. The problem is that they haven't always come neatly spaced. In some cases, the lull from one round of precip to the next has only been 6-18 hours. Some have all snow, others mixed precip or even just plain rain. From a forecasting standpoint, alone, it has been very tricky at times, especially considering that from north to south, our CWA is about 2/3 that of the state of Alabama. That's a lot of ground to cover. Oh, and don't forget to add complex terrain to the mix.

But, it's Montana. It's winter. Winter = snow in Montana, so nothing new. Snow is as common here as severe weather is in Oklahoma. Common or not, if it all comes in waves very close to each other with little breathing room, it can become an impact for forecasters. As I mentioned earlier, I love active patterns, especially when convection is involved. Even active winter weather can be exciting. But, even your favorite weather patterns can be draining. At this past year's SECAPS conference in Mobile, Joey Picca (SPC) made a great point. He said, "We all get tired and need breaks, even from topics we love the most..."

Active weather can complicate messaging and open the door to more confusion than already exists. It can cause red and green pixels to start blending together after 12 straight hours on radar. It may be a struggle to issue YET ANOTHER Winter Weather Advisory, when it feels like you've already issued 5,000. Breaks are good. And when they don't happen, moral can get a bit sporty.

And, it's not just us. What about the snowplow drivers working countless nights or the emergency manager who can't remember when the last time he went a week without hearing a tornado siren going off? Locally, conversations within our office, with local partners, and with the public suggest that fatigue factor is kicking in some. Mike Rawlins (a local TV Met) said, "The hits just keep coming". People are beginning to ask if spring will EVER come.

I suppose in thinking through the impacts of extended periods of active weather, I'm not so much here to make some amazing point or observation. But, I feel that it is important to consider these factors when thinking about messaging, staffing, or purely from an empathy standpoint when a local partner asks when the pattern will break. Active weather causes a variety of impacts and they aren't just travel-related. This is something that has struck me more recently and is something that I believe is good for all of us to keep in mind for ourselves, those we work with, and those we serve.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Perspective on Change

In my nearly 3 year career with the NWS, I have seen a lot of changes, and the writing on the wall says more changes are coming. Some of the changes have been great, in my opinion, and some I am hesitant to get completely on-board with. Others seem to have that 'what could possibly go well with that' factor. Some seem to have the right heart, but not the best implementation. Meanwhile, others are a breath of fresh air after being discussed for months or even years. I recently wrote about Changes in the Field of Meteorology.

But, I'm not here to argue the good, bad, or the ugly of any change. Change is inevitable. What I believe is important is how we respond to change. Some change is worth fighting, some isn't. Think through it, discuss with others, but decide which battles to pick. And, no, you probably shouldn't pick them all. If a change you disagree with doesn't seem worth fighting, then let it go. If it helps, sing "Let it Go" from the movie "Frozen". If it is worth fighting against, do it diplomatically and always with an open mind. Not all change is good. Old doesn't always equal bad anymore than new always equals better. Some proposed changes are actually bad. Everyone agreeing with a change doesn't make it good. Stand up for what you believe is important, but know when to back down.

Most importantly, though, I believe we have to keep a good attitude. Change, if not handled well, can lead to resentment, grumpiness, negativity, or downright anger and frustration. I have dealt with every single one of these and I know it is easier said than done at times. I have watched negativity eat away at people (their passions, creativity, and zeal) and it breaks my heart. My plea to myself and to anyone reading this, for the sake of the Meteorology community, the people we serve, and our general well-being, be wary of falling victim to a negative mindset.

This community is full of very talented, highly-motivated, and super-creative people. But, we are also full of varying ideology and methodology. Change is born from these varying viewpoints and we won't always agree. My hope is that we can work together to find the best solutions to the various challenges we face. But, since we're not perfect, bad ideas will sometimes slip through the cracks in the form of a less-than-ideal change.

As Meteorologists, we have unique opportunities to serve people in ways that others only dream of. If a change is good, embrace it. If it isn't, find ways to deal with it or help make it better. Just don't let it steal your joy and passion. Stay motivated, my friends...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What Small Town USA Can Teach Us

Last week I did a spotter talk up in the far NE corner of our CWA...a rural town of just over 1200 people and located just south of the US/Canadian border (Chinook, MT). 1% of the population showed up. I would say most of our CWA is rural, with a handful of urban areas mixed in. Leaving that meeting, I started thinking about the needs of small town USA and, of all the things we do in the NWS, what is the most helpful for them.

A couple months ago, I wrote a post about picking your battles. Talking to the people in Chinook, I began to realize that I may be missing the point, or not focusing on the right things, with some of the battles I've picked. When you work in an office that is in a more urban setting, it can be easy to focus on the needs of the urban areas and forget the "little guys". I realize we can't hit every single need of every single person we serve. But, going out on outreach trips can sure be eye-opening.

For me, it was eye-opening in several respects. First off, small town USA doesn't necessarily mean the land of no cell phone signal and no WI-FI anymore. The sheriff had a fancy smartphone AND a cool-colored cover. The nearby fire chief also had a smartphone AND uses the mobile version of NWS' EDD. I gotta be honest, I didn't even know we had a mobile version of that site.

Then there's our products/services. The nearby airport manager said our DSS/partner emails we send out are the most helpful thing to him, not the TAFs. I thought it was cool that this small town airport even reads those emails. I mentioned to the sheriff that he could call us anytime for any weather-related help. He replied that after my spotter talk, he may have enough education to not have to call when the next storm approaches the town's summer fair. Does this represent all small towns? Probably not, but I'll bet it's repeated many times over. And, by the way, this is not meant to be seen as negatives about smaller towns, but as the reality of what's actually going on and what is used in smaller towns.

I guess the point is, we can fight all we want for what we THINK small-town USA needs, but after getting out and talking to the people, we may find we are fighting for the wrong things, at least as far as they are concerned. That's not to say that fighting for the needs of big city USA is wrong if it doesn't mesh with small-town USA. For me, small-town USA has simply helped keep things in perspective.

At the same time, this trip also helped me to see that there are things we fight for that I have always assumed were more helpful for larger cities (like the mobile EDD site). Who knew that working on that site, or something similar, may actually help big and small towns. And, while being available to provide support over the phone is great, maybe it's just not for some small towns. I believe our forecasts, warnings, DSS, etc is incredibly important to the mission of the NWS. But, what struck me that day is that all of that MAY not be what is most helpful for some small towns. Maybe outreach and education is our best service to them. Teaching the sheriff how to spot signs of rotation with an incoming storm might just be what helps him best serve his people even more than an email or phone call. When the sheriff said to me that he may not need to call us, it made me think of my kids. One day they will go to college and not have Mom or Dad right there next to them to help make a decision. That's when common sense and parental education comes in. Hopefully we will have taught them enough to make an informed decision. I hope my talk provided the sheriff enough info to make an informed decision whether he is able to reach out to our office or not.

Going forward, it will likely still be tricky trying to decide which battles to pick and which ones to let go of, but this recent interaction with the people we serve really gave me something to chew on. All of these ideas I've held dear may need a dose of ruralness (yes, I think I made up a word) to keep me in check!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Picking Your Battles

Being a husband, a father, and someone who does shift work, I tend to do most of my writing/thinking at night. Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to Roger’s midnight ramblings. Of course, many of the people who probably read this blog (after publishing their grids, of course!) also do shift work. Tonight’s ramblings revolve around navigating through the various passions in our field.

Being passionate is great and, in my opinion, an integral part of what we do. While we probably all share some common passions, there is also diversity in what drives us and that is ok. If everyone in an office/company/TV station is passionate about severe weather, what happens when the next snowstorm comes around? If everyone in research only cared about winter weather, what good is that for severe weather? Diversity in passions is healthy.

Lately, though, I’ve come to see that, if unchecked, passions can be unhealthy at times. See, out of our passions come strong opinions/beliefs. Diversity in passions is a beautiful thing, but it means we don’t all agree on everything. Someone who isn’t as passionate about severe weather may not feel as strongly about certain severe weather-related things as someone who is passionate in that area. Or, maybe you have a case of two people who are passionate about severe weather, but hold very strong and opposing opinions within that passion. It’s these opposing, strong viewpoints that I’ve wrestled with more recently.

I don’t know if this is a part of my personality or not, but I have always struggled with seeing the good in any opposing viewpoint. Not a good place to be! The last two years in the NWS have taught me, more than any other time in my life, that I simply cannot live this way. Realizing this has been an important step for me personally, but putting it into action? Now that’s a whole other ballgame. Keeping an open mind is tough and requires some painstaking effort at times (or, at least, it does for me anyway). Even with this new mindset, there are still certain things that for the life of me I cannot understand how someone could see it differently. In a church, a pastor might ask for an “amen” here, but since this is a blog, can I get a “write on!”?

But here’s the thing. In my experience, some of the things I have felt very strongly about turned out not to be as big of a deal as I made them out to be, or simply misplaced, after actually listening to the opposing side. Man, some of those times I really didn’t want to change my mind. Now, before people start questioning every opinion they hold dear, let me be clear. I do think there are things worth fighting for. Countless people throughout history stood up for what they believed in and positive change came about from it. What the past two years have taught me, though, is that I have to pick my battles.

I’m not saying we need to put all of our opinions under a microscope, but I do think it is worth taking some time to think through those strongly-held opinions to see what our motives might be, what facts support (or disprove) our beliefs, etc. This is a big reason why I blog. Even if no one else reads these, writing helps me to think through issues. Maybe that works for you, maybe it doesn’t. Perhaps sharing things with co-workers or posting your opinion in 160 characters or less works. Maybe it’s thinking on the car ride home. It won’t always be easy, but in my experience it has helped me to figure out which battles are worth fighting and which aren’t. It has also helped me to figure out what things I am probably way off on and which things I might be on to something.

You can probably all think of that person who seems to always pick every…single…little…battle. Perhaps you have been that person. I know I have before! Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking. When we pick every battle, we run the risk of becoming white noise…a clanging cymbal that people don’t want to hear or don’t take a seriously. In our field, there are a lot of things worth fighting for in my opinion. But, there is a time and place for everything and, in some cases, it just might be that a battle simply isn’t worth fighting at all. I struggle with the idea of letting go of some battles. And, gosh, where do you even start on deciding which to let go of? Perhaps letting go of one or two here and there will help bring about change in those things that are even more important. I can’t tell you what battles you should fight and which you shouldn’t. That is just a part of the sportiness of this whole process. Heck, some things worth fighting for in one company or office may not be worth it in another.

On a quick side not here, in this whole process of picking my battles, I’ve been reminded to show a little grace when others pick every battle. I’ve done it before and maybe many of you have as well. Perhaps you’ve got the picking your battles thing all figured out, but that’s not the case for all of us. It may be annoying when others do this, but try to cut them some slack. You might even be able to help them work through what is important and what isn’t. Several in my office have helped me work through some battles and I am better for it. Whatever you do or wherever you work, there’s a good chance you are part of a team. If we work together through our weaknesses and show a little grace, we are probably all better off for it.

In this struggle of picking our battles, it may be easy to lose a little passion in the process. Don’t let that happen! About 6 months into my career with the NWS, I let this happen and, boy, do I regret it. Just because you may have to back off on some things, doesn’t mean the passion for the job should as well. I think the key is to find that balance of when to stand up and when to back off a bit. Plus, think of it this way. If on the flipside you do pick every battle, you’re probably going to get burnt out. What good does that do you or anyone else? I love seeing people find their niche/their passion. I equally hate seeing people lose their passion. If I can stress anything, please don’t lose that passion! Keep it in check and healthy, but don’t lose it. In the words of Leslie Nielsen, “We’re all counting on you”.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Messaging Significant Events

Over the past few days, a part of our CWA  (NWS Great Falls) has been pounded with heavy snow (here's a PDF from our office with some of the impressive snowfall amounts, records, and pictures). And, when I say pounded, I mean 30-50+" of snow, avalanches, roads nearly impassable or closed, roofs/buildings endanger of collapsing, emergency declarations, people stranded and/or unable to travel, etc. Perhaps pounded isn't a strong enough word, which brings me to the challenge of the day. How do we approach events like these from a forecasting and messaging standpoint?

I am a firm believer that a good message starts with a good forecast and good forecast starts with sound science. For me personally, my approach to forecasting (and this is by no means the only way to do it) has been to pour over the data, then build a forecast that best represents what I am seeing from model data, current observations, input from other forecasters, experience, etc. From there, I step back, look at the finished product, and then try to determine what, if anything, needs messaging. This is all well and good, but what happens when the finished product shows the potential, or even likelihood, of an anomalous event?

Perhaps more experienced forecasters than I don't struggle with this as much, but while working this recent event, stepping back and looking at the forecast prior to the event got me wondering if the ridiculous snowfall amounts I was coming up with were valid. So much so, as soon as I calculated my snowfall amounts, me and the other forecaster I was working with immediately picked up the phone and called a neighboring office that would also be impacted. When they answered, their response was the same. They also were, somewhat dumbfoundedly, looking at the amounts they were coming up with. In fact, in their words, they said, "We [the two forecasters at the other office] have been staring at our computers trying to figure out if these amounts are real."

Turns out, those amounts were real. But, hindsight is always 20/20 and, for many of us in the moment, I think there can be a hesitation to put out such a forecast. For me (and I assume I'm not alone in this), there is that concern of, well what happens if this doesn't actually pan out? This points to a larger question. What is more helpful/harmful? To see the potential and not put the forecast out, or to put it out? If you forecast the high-end event and it happens...awesome! If you forecast the high-end event and it doesn't happen...not so good. But, what if you don't forecast the high-end event and it does happen? Which is worse...forecasting the event and it not happening or not forecasting the event and it happening? Both have negative consequences and this is where the challenge comes in.

Sometimes, I think there is a tendency to back off from higher-end events. Let's face it, oftentimes at least one or two models show a worst-case scenario, only to back off as the event draws near. Or, maybe they never back off, only to be way off in the end. This isn't always the case, but it does happen. And, then, there is the issue of over-hyping an event or the boy who cried wolf syndrome.

But, at the same time, when even one model indicates the potential for a higher-end event, it probably isn't prudent to immediately write it off (outliers do verify at times). And, while never 100% perfect, I think this is where sound science, experience, and collaboration comes in. If after all of this, there is above average, or maybe even average, confidence, perhaps it is time to go ahead and pull the trigger on messaging the event as a higher-end event. Afterall, that is part of our job as Meteorologists. To inform people of the weather. If the weather is going to be really bad, people need to know so they can prepare. We can't make people prepare, but we can at least stress the expected magnitude of an event.

If there was a Messaging Hall of Fame, two statements/events come to mind to be included (and, of course, this is in now way an exhaustive list!) 1) The statement issued by NWS New Orleans prior to the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. That's not a statement any NWS office issues on a regular basis. 2) The higher-end wording by SPC, NWS offices, and the media during the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Both of these events fell outside of the norm, in my opinion, and forecasters had to make the not-always-easy go/no go call on these higher-end watches, warnings, and statements. Should all events be messaged just as hard or do higher-end events need stronger wording?

At the moment, I would tend to lean towards higher-end events need to be messaged harder. A 40" snowfall in a non-mountainous area probably deserves higher-end wording/statements than a 10" snowfall. Winter Storm Warnings, for example, would likely be issued for both, but 40" has the potential to cause more significant impacts/disruptions to everyday life than a 10" snowfall. Both are significant, but again, the challenge is how to approach these higher-end events.

In our case, wind wasn't much of a concern for much of the hardest hit areas, so we felt that a Blizzard Watch/Warning wasn't warranted. Granted, it would certainly grab people's attention. I would imagine, and this is purely speculation, that a Tornado Watch also grabs a lot of attention and probably even more so than a Severe T-storm Watch. But, do you put out a Tornado Watch if you are not expecting any tornadoes? I hadn't thought of this before, but could it be that we approach winter storms like convective events and have PDS Winter Storm Warnings in addition to regular Winter Storm Warnings? For our CWA, I think this event would have justified such a warning. 10" of snow in a snow-prone area is definitely warning-worthy and causes significant issues. But, even here, 40" basically shuts everything down. The local DOT here mentioned in a statement that they are going to have to bring in heavy equipment to remove all the snow and that it would take multiple days to get through. Cars are buried, roads impassable, roofs are struggling to hold the amazing weight of the newly fallen snow. That's not your average winter storm. One of the shifts after mine added wording into the original warning, stating this is a dangerous situation. I thought this was a great idea and reminded me of the kind of enhanced wording SPC uses in PDS Tornado/Severe T-storm Watches.

I think it is always important to look back at an event as an office and as individuals to see how things played out and what, if anything, could be improved on. For me, I put out the higher-end forecast, but wasn't bold enough to go all in with the messaging, even after collaboration with national centers and a neighboring office. Basically, I used the process I mentioned above, but didn't fully apply it, unfortunately. I think the fear of being wrong and the fear of over-hyping or messaging too strongly got the best of me. It's important to make sure you're not missing something, but at the same time, if after a careful scientific/collaborative process, confidence is still above average, I think at a certain point you just have to pull the trigger. I think the lesser of two evils is people preparing for an event that doesn't happen as opposed to not being told of an event and it happening. The latter case, using a snow example, has the potential to leave people stranded with no food, water, power, etc, because who is going to prepare for an event they don't know is coming? Having extra food, water, candles, etc doesn't hurt anyone, but NOT having those things and then NOT having a way to get those things is much worse in my opinion. Perhaps these types of events only happen a few times in any of our careers, but when they do, don't fall into the trap I did of letting fear prevent a stronger-worded message from going out.

On a quick side-note, this event has reminded me that, no matter how good the models become in the future, I still hold firmly to the idea that an understanding of the science behind what the models spit out is vitally important to our messaging. Knowing WHY a model is showing something can help us explain HOW an event is going to play out and even know what to stress that even the best models might be missing out on.