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Putting Weather Alerts On A Diet

Synopsis: There are too many alerts containing overblown/non-applicable impacts and unnecessary instructions. Continue reading to see which alerts will now be displayed on the home page and why.

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I’ve grown weary of all the alerts from the NWS that either 1) don’t apply within the city limits of Marquette or 2) don’t meet legitimate criteria for issuance.

Take, for example, Saturday morning’s wind chill advisory where there were virtually calm winds for hours while air temps were above 0.

Or consider the recent winter storm warning (for 2/7/19) where most parts of the county got 5-7″ and published guidelines require 8″ in 12 hours or 10″ in 24 hours. This occurred despite a drying trend in the model guidance even before the warning was issued. In isolation, this wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a single storm that meets warning criteria this winter (at least not in Marquette). Yet how many warnings have we had? I’ve lost count.

I’m sure any decision can be justified as following the spirit rather than the letter of the law. To that I say “if you can bend the rules one way, you can bend them the other. ”

I think, in general, more deference should be shown toward the unflappable, resilient spirit of Marquette and the U.P. We do not need alerts every time more than 2″ of snow is going to fall. Marquette normally receives ~10ft of snow per year. That’s a steady stream of statements & advisories notifying us that it’s, indeed, winter.

Furthermore, and I’m sorry/not sorry for the grumpy old man rant here, we don’t need to be constantly told how to dress, drive, and survive historically unremarkable winter events. Anyone who is that ignorant or helpless here is unlikely to fully read and heed the information anyway.

I may be told there is nothing that can be done because of mandates from on high. God (D.C.) has ordained these things and, therefore, all things are in their proper order. Well, in fact, there is something I can do. As of earlier today, I have suspended all but the most life-threatening notifications from the home page. These include: tornado watches/warnings, flood watches/warnings and ice storm warnings. Those are, indeed, unexpected events that can catch people unaware and endanger them without proper notification. The rest can be handled by the forecast.

The area page will continue to show all alerts for two reasons. First, most alerts are for the area rather than the city which is the focus of the home page. Secondly, I realize not everyone will agree with my decision, and I believe in freedom of choice.

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[UPDATE Mon 2/11/19 12:15PM]: After further consideration, I am going to allow Winter Storm Warnings to post on the home page.  This is because Marquetters frequently travel outside the city. At least as important, the alert serves as a heads up to check the forecast and prepare for something other than the standard inch or two of snow.

5 thoughts on “Putting Weather Alerts On A Diet

  • Yep. Makes sense. There is a fear agenda occurring at the weather channel and NWS. Maybe political agendas or insurance company agendas.
    Maybe if a winter storm warning seriously looks significant or lake effect warning occurs would be nice. But, I mainly look at your page for real time temp and wind chill which is not the KI Sawyer or Negaunee NWS which is nice.
    Thanks for the handy wx site.

    • Thanks, Jim, for the kind words. Yes, if 1 or 2 feet of snow is on the way, that’s altogether different than the nothing burgers we’ve been getting. In that event, I may allow the warning through.

  • We are running well below average for snowfall so far this season. Even the Polar Vortex hasn’t been that spectacular in Marquette. No record lows set (not even close). The only real noteworthy event so far was the ice storm.

  • Your grumpy old man is showing. I dont understand why you are complaining about the NWS Marquette office. Their forecast area is most of the Upper Peninsula and not just focused on Marquette. They give forecasts FOR most of the UP, the world does not revolve around just Marquette. Also you are complaining about nothing burgers, my address IS Marquette, 49855 zip, and we have gotten whollaped a few times (I am out by the crossroads) I just feel you are always critical of NWSMQT and there are hard working people there. As far as I understand about weather forecasting, it is no where an exact science.

    • OK, Chris, I’ll admit it was my fault for expecting that alerts intended for Marquette County would fairly represent its largest city. But your snow report illustrated why I set up a site primarily for the city limits. That’s because the weather even a few miles outside it can be completely different. I appreciate the comment.

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