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How Do Meteorologists Predict The Weather?

Jane Lindholm interviews meteorologist Tom Messner in front of the green wall, where weather maps and images are digitally projected during a broadcast.
Jane Lindholm
/
VPR
Jane Lindholm interviews meteorologist Tom Messner in front of the green wall, where weather maps and images are digitally projected during a broadcast.

How do weather people predict the weather and know what's going to happen tomorrow? Why is a meteorologist called a meteorologist? We learn about weather forecasting with National Weather Service Meteorologist Jessica Neiles and NBC5 Chief Meteorologist Tom Messner. 

Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

Meteorologists start by gathering a lot of data from observations, weather balloons, buoys, radar, and satellites. But all of that data tells meteorologists about what's happening right now, so how do we know what's coming next?

"How do weather people know what the weather will be?" - Prestyn, 5, North Carolina

"All of those measurements are taken by computer models that make a forecast of what they think will happen," says Jessica Neiles of the National Weather Service. "Then we get to look at all of the different computer models to get a sense of which one might be performing the best for a particular storm. We use the models to look for patterns based on climatology, which is what you would expect, to come up with a forecast, which is what is going to happen."

Then they use those models to make a forecast. No matter where you get your weather information from, the data probably comes from the National Weather Service.

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