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Whether He's Wrong or Right, Louisville Meteorologist John Belski Hears About It


It's fair to say many people in Louisville paid close attention to weather forecasts the past several days.
At times, the snowstorm that began moving through Louisville on Wednesday was supposed to drop a foot of snow--or maybe more. At other times, the storm was expected to bring less snow.

The thing is, sometimes forecasts shift dramatically.

In a recent interview, WLKY meteorologist John Belski said meteorologists use weather data models from all over the world--the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe--to calculate snowfall amounts.

"The problem is many times they do not agree, and that's the hard part--trying to figure out which one of these really has a handle on this situation," said Belski, who occasionally fills in as a host for WFPL.

"For some reason the European [model] seems to have a better track record, not only on a medium range, a week to a week and a half out, but also a lot of times on the shorter range."

How often does the weather shift and what's the meteorologist's reaction? 

"This happens quite often in the Ohio Valley. The northern states, they don't get these last minute shifts as much. But here, where we get these changing air masses it is a lot more common and that's why it's a lot harder to predict weather in this part of the country."

When we hear about several inches difference in snow accumulation, what's accounting for the spread?

"There's always a little bit of a range on how much moisture is going to fall, so you want to put a several-inch range in, especially when you're talking about that high [7 to 9 inches predicted in Louisville]. Also, when you hear these forecasts they're grouping a number of counties in together."

What kind of feedback do you get from being a meteorologist? The good and the bad.

"When it comes to snow it is very visible. This effects everybody. It effects your travel time. It effects whether you're going to school or not, so people are paying close attention, they're switching around all the stations. So if you're right they're going to let you know about it and if you're wrong they're going to let you know about it."