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Thank your local weather forecaster

February 4, 2015
Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Day after day, we turn on our favorite radio or TV station seeking one important piece of information: What will the weather be today?

And there, in front of a complex map of lines and arrows, clouds and sun faces stands our tireless weatherperson, giving us motherly advice. "Be sure to take your umbrella. There's rain on the horizon."

Or "The cold front will be moving in after sunset. Remember your pets."

Or "We can expect three to five inches of snow close to Lake Erie, eight to ten south of I 90!"

Though you may have missed the note on your calendar, today is National Weatherman's Day. With that in mind, I'm sending out a huge "Thank You" to all the weathermen and women who stand in front of the country's countless green screens, giving their valuable weather updates.

Whatever the weather, our network of weather folks keeps us posted throughout the year.

For each of us, weather reports, both for where we are and for areas where loved ones live, make up an important part of the information we rely on every day.

It was in February of 1879 that the U. S. Weather Service was born. And, though the forecasts can sometimes miss the mark of accuracy, the technology continues to improve. Today's predictions are much more dependable than what our ancestors had to deal with.

In our country's early days, folks had to rely on the community's older residents who would proclaim with conviction, "My knee is acting up. No question about it. We're in for a storm!"

The weather that visits us here in southwest Florida is far less predictable than what Mother Nature brings to Chautauqua County. That's due to the wildly changeable systems that sweep across the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.

Western New York weather patterns are born in Canada and the frigid regions to the north. From time to time, such weather systems will bump into a front swinging up from the south. The results are usually filled with surprises; many of them unwelcome, to say the least.

But, whether you're in southwest Florida, western New York or anywhere served by the National Weather Service and her sister organizations around the world, you can count on weathercasters to keep you posted about what's coming, or at least make an informed attempt.

From NBC's Al Roker to his counterparts in Canada, Great Britain and on every continent, this network of predictors has a huge arsenal of electronic equipment and monitoring stations at their disposal to help them predict what's coming, weather-wise.

In the area of weather prognostication, Punxsutawney Phil has been center stage lately. But the old boy doesn't have the staying power of our national team of weathercasters. So today, as you watch the folks who are watching your weather for you, send them a silent thanks for keeping you informed.



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