But if you really want accuracy, listen to Jacob Meisel.
The Staples senior’s blog and Twitter feed are both called “SWCTWeather.” SWCT refers to Southwestern Connecticut.
And for in-depth, minute-by-minute, micro-isobar reporting, both are essential for hundreds of local students, teachers and administrators, plus area politicians, TV anchors, and anyone else who cares which way the wind blows.
Jacob became interested in weather as a young child. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much variety in his native Los Angeles. Fortunately, his parents moved to Westport when he was in 6th grade.
“If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute,” Mark Twain supposedly said.
Jacob likes all kinds of weather.
He’s almost entirely self-taught. He learned about warm air advection, baraclinic waves — and stuff far more complicated — online.
That’s also where he studies tons of computer models.
And, much of the time, he discounts them.
Jacob seems to be right more often than the government agencies, and fancy websites. And he’s definitely right more often than the handsome/pretty faces who are paid big bucks to repeat breathlessly, and in spectacularly unorganized fashion, their predictions on TV.
Take Hurricane Sandy — which everyone except a weather buff like Jacob wishes he hadn’t nailed. A full week before it hit — when everyone else hedged their bets — Jacob said there would be widespread power outages, and many days without school.
On the weekend, the moment Mayor Bloomberg said that evacuations were not needed and New York City schools would not be closed, Jacob tweeted that the mayor was wrong.
Jacob was right.
That Monday night, Jacob tweeted and posted updates. He was eerily close in predicting when the winds would be worst — and when they would subside. Some people appreciated hearing why — meteorologically speaking — the storm was so bad.
Others were comforted just knowing it would end.
But Sandy pales in comparison with a Saturday storm last January. Jacob posted that the snow would end at 2 p.m. It stopped at 2:01.
The December 26, 2010 blizzard also stands out for Jacob. He calls it “the worst forecast in history.”
Jacob says, “The National Weather Service didn’t alert people. I tried to.”
His inner weather buff emerges. “It was chaotic, and very exciting. It defied all the odds, and came right up the coast!”
What started out as a small website has turned into a major operation. Students rely on Jacob’s predictions — not of weather, but of school delays, early dismissals and closings.
State legislators and town employees follow his tweets.
The pressure is mounting — and he loves it.
In preparation for this winter, Jacob studied every local winter since 1949. He calls for t talsnowfalls “slightly above normal”: 32 to 41 inches.
But as exciting as Westport weather is, Jacob is a senior. College beckons.
He hopes to major in economics or political science. He looks forward to analyzing the impact of weather on politics, and local and world economies.
Jacob will do that wherever he goes.
Weather Whether he gets into his 1st choice or not.
(Click here for Jacob Meisel’s blog.)