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WeatherTalk: The biggest change to weather forecasting is communication

Between mass media and social media, weather forecast news is literally everywhere.

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FARGO — There is no doubt that weather forecasting has come a long way. Even in the 40 years or so this old meteorologist has been working weather, there has been significant improvement to weather technology and forecast science. Severe blizzards on the Northern Plains used to kill dozens or even hundreds of people. Better communication is a big part of this as well.

Prior to about 100 years ago, when radio use became widespread, weather forecasting was done by the National Weather Service — then called the U.S. Weather Bureau — hoisting flags at their office that stood for "cold weather," "hot weather," "rain coming," "snow coming" or "windy." Those forecasts were then spread by word of mouth and by newspapers the following day. Mostly, weather just happened. Many people today claim to not use or even care about weather forecasts, but between mass media and social media, weather forecast news is literally everywhere these days.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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