Editorial response to Monday's storm
As a rule, I do my absolute best to avoid public controversy with my efforts here with PTW. I am not into the climate debate, nor am I interested in politics. This site is about weather forecast and information for any shades of the scientific and political spectrum. What you folks do with it, I have no control over that. I just put it out there for you to disseminate what you want out of it.
The debate began on Tuesday. Billy Kobin of the Bangor Daily News wrote up this piece, "Maine officials were caught off guard by Monday's powerful storm" which he cited my efforts ahead of the storm to inform people and contacted me to get my thoughts on why some may have been surprised by it, which included government officials and agencies. The following is an excerpt from his article:
Forecaster Mike Haggett, who lives in Kennebunk and has a devoted following on his Pine Tree Weather website and social media pages, had warned Sunday the third storm for the region in the last three weeks was “shaping up to be the most potent.” He thought that many Mainers may have partially checked out on the storm due to holiday preparations.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the business of the holidays and lose track of what’s happening,”
In some ways, I was surprised that people were caught off guard with this one, probably because I was on it in earnest on Friday and Saturday, with a full update on Sunday where the bases of a high impact event were covered.
I reviewed the timeline of NWS issuing bulletins on this.
NWS Caribou started it off by issuing a high wind watch at 9:08 AM Saturday, followed by a flood watch at 2:49 PM. NWS Gray issued their high wind watch at 3:09 PM, flood watch at 3:17 PM, and a coastal flood watch at 3:25 PM. NWS Caribou issued their coastal flood watch at 3:26 AM Sunday morning.
The bottom line here is the word was out on it, for those who chose to pay attention.
The only other comment I have here is that I mentioned to Billy that was not published, is some may have dismissed it due to the previous Monday's storm that underperformed in the wind aspect, but did bring some power outages, wind damage, and areas of flooding. As I told him, this was a whole different animal. That previous Monday storm was like a dog chasing its tail with the eastward shift. This one was straightforward. It boiled down to how bad it was going to be. We found out.
I've seen other columns with people blaming the forecasters for not knowing the severity of the storm. If you paid attention, you would have known. What part of HIGH WIND WATCH and FLOOD WATCH is not understood? The combination of the two would be enough raise a few eyebrows and action taken ahead of it. If those two phrases doesn't scream potential for power outages, flooded roads and basements, I guess I live on a different planet.
As I tweeted out Friday morning: It's on you to stay updated on weather forecasts and have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts. Your ignorance of being underprepared or ill-informed is NOT the forecasters' responsibility. Period.
We are each responsible as individuals to stay updated on the weather to protect ourselves, family, business and property. This is why this site exists and why I put the effort into it. There is at times a serious gap between the National Weather Service and the media. I do my best to try to fill it, and I do it virtually for free.
Points made, now back to the weather.
Potential for a some light freezing drizzle