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WRTV's meteorologists discuss truth in weather reporting for News Literacy Week

Truth in Weather
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 17:31:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — WRTV is proud to teach our viewers how to know fact from fiction and our parent company E.W. Scripps is dedicated to helping you gain News Literacy.

As part of News Literacy Week, WRTV Anchor Megan Shinn walks us through the process of weather forecasting.

You see them in the morning, noon, and at night — Kevin Gregory, Kyle Mounce and Todd Klaassen. They’re WRTV’s and the community’s trusted meteorologists.

When they clock into work, they have a four-part job with forecasting, creating graphics, presenting the weather and sharing it on-air and on social media.

So, we’re asking them to pause from their busy schedule to take you behind the scenes to show the weather puzzle behind ‘blaming the weatherman’ for that rainy day you didn’t expect.

All three hold a certification from either the American Meteorological Society or the seal of approval from the National Weather Association (NWA).

Our meteorologists say forecasting changes all the time, but there are factors that play into the certainty.

“You have to think of the atmosphere as a profile. It’s not just what’s happening here on the ground, it’s what’s happening up in the sky," Klaassen said.

In general, they say about 48 hours out from the precipitation, you have a good grasp on the overall weather pattern or conditions. However, forecasting the timing and precipitation type in specific cities takes science and experience beyond the digital capabilities.

“That’s when experience comes in and the human aspect of it compared to, you know, just an app telling you this ... a lot of times, that won’t pick up on anything,” said Klaassen.

On a weather app, you can’t get precise weather details in advance.

“If you saw some of the weather calculations, it’d probably make your head spin," Mounce said. "Every weather system is different. Every recipe for the forecast is different.”

On social media, all you see is a snapshot in time, which sometimes people mistake for the end all be all in the weather story. However, on TV, meteorologists can provide the latest information during multiple broadcasts each day.

“A change in the storm track from one model that may be moving that storm across Indiana and another one 50 miles south may be the difference between us getting rain or a lot of snow out of that system,” said Mounce.

The WRTV Storm Team looks at the latest, most trustworthy models to calculate probabilities and give you the accurate forecast.

“One of the challenges now in the modern era of forecasting is the chatter about a forecast can start 7,8,9 days before an event is predicted to happen," Gregory said. “We’re not all authoritative, this is the way it’s going to play out, we share with you probabilities ... those probabilities go up as we get closer to the event, because it’s naturally occurring,” said Gregory.

The ever-changing forecast is covered by our team combined with decades of weather experience in Central Indiana.

"You’re getting it from meteorologists that know the area, they know the weather maps and they’re not just throwing stuff out there,” Gregory said.

Over the decades they’ll continue to keep your trust and tell you what you need to know before walking out the door.

“You have to stick with the trusted professionals and that’s us here at WRTV,” Klaassen said.

Our meteorologists work closely with the National Weather Service when it comes to big snow events or sever weather events. They also continue education, always staying up to date on the latest certifications and computer models.