The Curious Case of Henry Margusity’s Forecast for Sandy

    1. Henry Margusity is a meteorologist at AccuWeather.com. Like many meteorologists this week, he has been attempting to forecast the evolution of Hurricane Sandy. He also appears to be fighting a battle either with himself or unspecified readers.
      Everything begins innocently enough on Tuesday morning as Henry is attempting to explain the large-scale pattern and its’ implications for the upcoming weather along the East Coast of the US.

  1. Accu_Henry
    Let me be clear, a Neg NAO means a storm should be along the coast despite what the GFS says.
    Tue, Oct 23 2012 04:42:54
  2. Accu_Henry
    Not sure the storm will be the epic one shown by the Euro, but pattern says some storm of some magnitude should hit the NE.
    Tue, Oct 23 2012 04:44:03
  3. Accu_Henry
    The Difference between Euro and GFS is the strength of the blocking. Euro stronger so bigger storm, GFS weaker out to sea.
    Tue, Oct 23 2012 04:53:42
  4. Accu_Henry
    New NAO forecast is out and it’s even lower next week. GFS will come around to a storm. http://ow.ly/eHlWJ
    Tue, Oct 23 2012 06:59:23
  5. Everything here makes sense.  A negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) portends blocking in high latitudes near Labrador and Greenland.  This usually results in a trough digging into the eastern US and the formation of a cyclone near the East Coast.  Henry seems to suggest in his last tweet that the GFS forecast, which sends Sandy out to sea, is wrong, but it will come around given the forecast strength of a negative NAO.  That seems logical.Logic started walking out the door on Wednesday morning…

  6. Accu_Henry
    GFS is finally catching onto the low NAO and the storm development. Whether it’s Sandy or another storm the develops.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 04:12:09
  7. Accu_Henry
    Leaning toward the GFS now. That Sandy gets whipped out to sea and another storms forms off of NJ due to low NAO.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 04:19:18
  8. Accu_Henry
    The scenario I believe is NOT a historic storm, but typical October Nor’easter for the Mid-Atlantic to New England.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 04:44:11
  9. Accu_Henry
    What I mean, Sandy gets whipped out to sea and a secondary low develops along the coast and becomes the Nor’easter
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 04:50:36
  10. OK.  So after explaining why the storm should get forced up the East Coast and into the US (blocking from negative NAO), Henry determines that Sandy should just “get whipped out to sea” and another storm will develop behind it.  OK.  This isn’t unheard of.  It has happened before.  Keep in mind this whole time the European, Canadian, and Navy models consistently brought Sandy near the East Coast and into the US.  The GFS was the outlier.  And, despite explaining on Tuesday why the GFS was wrong and would “come around”, Henry decided to go with the outlier in the GFS.  Why you ask? Because “things like that just don’t happen.”  That’s what Henry stated in reference to the European solution.Now, I’ll admit to putting a disclaimer at the bottom of my first Sandy post regarding this odd track.  It is not normal, but anomalous things happen all the time in Mother Nature.  And it’s not like this has never happened.  Hurricane Hazel is the classic example of a hurricane moving due north into the US instead of out to sea.  Still, it is an odd track and that’s worth noting.  I’m not sure I would make a forecast based upon it and one model that appears to be an outlier, but that’s what Henry did.  Well, at least he had a model supporting him.

  11. Accu_Henry
    Latest GFS now takes Sandy right into Maine.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 09:24:03
  12. Ruh roh.  Time to defend your forecast…
  13. Accu_Henry
    Before you put faith in one run of the model keep in mind there are 20 runs of the gfs and 10 runs of the Euro before Tues.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 10:08:27
  14. Accu_Henry
    It’s funny to me that people look at one model and think that will happen. We are 5 days away from the storm time!
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:03:18
  15. Ummm… people weren’t looking at one model and making their forecast based upon that.  They were seeing the one outlier come in line with the other models and gaining confidence in the overall forecast.  It appears Henry is waiting for more model runs to see if he can find one that will agree with him.
  16. Accu_Henry
    GFS going right back to what I said. Sandy whips out to sea, storm develops along the coast. NAO wins everytime.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:18:06
  17. BOOM BITCHES!!!! HENRY HAS A FRIEND!!!! NAO WINS!!! WINNING!!!  (But wait, you said the NAO was the reason for the Euro being right on Tuesday morning.  I’m so confused.)
  18. Accu_Henry
    I am not concerned with the models because we have many runs to go. I see the pattern and how things will work out.
    Wed, Oct 24 2012 15:51:08
  19. Who needs models when we got Henry???!!!  HE’S A SEER!!!! HE’S THE MOSES OF METEOROLOGY!!!
  20. Accu_Henry
    Well its another day of model mayhem. Time to sit back and watch the fun unfold.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 04:21:17
  21. WTF???? I thought you were a seer, Henry.  Who needs models?  Well, let’s see what these models have to say for Henry’s vision…
  22. Accu_Henry
    GFS takes the storm around into Long Island. On that track, Boston gets slammed.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 09:17:19
  23. Hmmm… didn’t see that, did you?
  24. Accu_Henry
    I like the GFS solution over the Euro only because it compromises with my thoughts plus the pattern says a storm should be there.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 09:36:50
  25. So you only like the GFS because it’s most compromising with you and your forecast?  Forget the fact the Euro has been about as consistent as can be expected.  Forget the fact the Euro was forecasting Isaac going into New Orleans when the GFS had it moving Eastof Florida.  The GFS is most likely to make Henry look “less wrong”, so he’s going with that.Now, here’s where it gets really fun.  It’s pretty clear that Henry is catching a lot of heat for his OTS (Out To Sea) forecast of Sandy.  He’s essentially replaced Joe Bastardi at AccuWeather – a popular meteorologist with a number of followers who have migrated over to his new site, WeatherBell.  I’m not saying one is better than the other.  I’m just pointing out that Bastardi has his followers and his forecast was much different than Henry’s.  Thus, Henry is hearing it from the Bastardi crowd as well as other meteorologists who are questioning his forecast and reasoning given the model output.

    As the 18Z run of the GFS is coming in on Thursday afternoon/evening, Henry is watching and tweeting. (Note the time stamps.)

  26. Accu_Henry
    I don’t think the verdict is in yet on the storm path. I think by Saturday morning, the consensus is in for the track and impacts.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 14:40:24
  27. Accu_Henry
    We have to be careful about using terms like “Historic” or “Epic” Remember Irene!
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:00:13
  28. Accu_Henry
    So GFS is east of the Euro track thru 66 hours.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:01:40
  29. Help me GFS, you’re my only hope.
  30. Accu_Henry
    Yes, Irene was very bad in VT and parts of New England, but is was over hyped over a larger area.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:09:50
  31. Accu_Henry
    My point is, we are 5 days from the event. Get the track right and the impacts will follow. People have plenty of time to prepare.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:11:03
  32. Accu_Henry
    See how the GFS and Euro are starting to come into a consensus, if that trend continues tomorrow AM, disaster is on the way.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:15:12
  33. The GFS has abandoned Henry and he’s about to lose it.
  34. Accu_Henry
    You now why I don’t want to see the storm come, because a 944mb coming in from the east will kill people and cause billions in damage.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:17:29
  35. So your forecast was based on the hope this wouldn’t happen?
  36. Accu_Henry
    And many people across New England to Virginia will be without power for many days on top of losing their homes to flooding.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:18:27
  37. Accu_Henry
    And what upsets me the most are the people who are gratified that it’s coming!
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:21:31
  38. He has a point here.  There are too many people that get giddy about a storm like this.  It’s a fine line between being fascinated by the power of the weather and respecting people’s health and property.  Unfortunately, it’s Henry’s job to make an accurate forecast.  If it’s a devastating one, it’s a devastating one.  All you can do is make the forecast and hope people prepare as necessary.
  39. Accu_Henry
    If your happy the storm is coming, go to West Virginia and help the folks who will be out of power for weeks due to snow.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:26:39
  40. Accu_Henry
    Trust me folks, we are taking the storm seriously. Our forecasters have be agonizing over the forecasts for days now.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:27:50
  41. Does that include you, Henry?  You didn’t seem very conflicted.
  42. Accu_Henry
    I see the GFS and Euro and it worries me that we have a monumental disaster over 10 states next week.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:29:48
  43. Accu_Henry
    I will say it right now, my OTS forecast will not be correct if the models continue on the trend we are seeing now. No spin.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:34:11
  44. There we go…
  45. Accu_Henry
    Honestly folks, looking at the GFS data now that it’s in just makes me sad to think of what’s ahead of us next week. This is just not…
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:37:15
  46. Accu_Henry
    Tomorrow morning we go into impact mode. I will say right now, people need to put things away and prepare for a huge storm.
    Thu, Oct 25 2012 15:41:31
  47. 30 minutes ago you said people have “plenty of time to prepare.”  This seems like a more urgent statement.I’ve never met Henry Margusity.  He is likely a great guy and overall great meteorologist.  Maybe he had a bad couple of days.  It happens to all of us from time to time.  He’s no doubt under a lot of stress given this forecast.

    If you ask me, all of this is the result of a larger issue with the public perception of meteorologists.  I think far too many members of the public expect exact forecasts.  That’s just not realistic, especially 3 days out.  What would be nice to see is a list of possible scenarios, perhaps with a percent chance of each one occurring.  This is done in some places, but it isn’t done everywhere.  Henry got so entrenched with his forecast (perhaps because he didn’t want to appear to be waffling) that it led to some arrogant tweets and, even worse, a lack of honest communication with his readers.  If meteorologists presented forecasts as probabilities of what might occur rather than a single scenario, the public would be left with no choice but to consume their weather forecasts in that manner.

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9 Responses to The Curious Case of Henry Margusity’s Forecast for Sandy

  1. duceman says:

    What a great write up. I totally agree and called out Henry myself. In fact, his tweet saying ” no spin” was in response to me calling him out. An important tweet that you left out was on Sat night. He said something like ” NYC getting what we expected”. Thats when I lost it. It was horrendously pathetic. He was trying to spin one of the biggest blown forecasts in accuweather history by saying that he actually got it right for NYC. When he was on record saying that it was going to be OTS and a “typical Noreaster”. I’m honestly shocked he still has a job. This was worse than the public May PA snow storm fued with JB, that he lost badly and caused massive shame to accuweather. I agree that it’s really a thankless job. But, what I have a problem with was the fact that the large weather community knew what the models were showing. I think Henry would have gained respect if he said he blew it, instead of looking like a clown by trying to spin. It was unreal to watch unfold. He’s lucky no one from the media caught on and captured like you have here. I have no respect for the way he handles things. Well done, great read.

    • Steve J says:

      Thanks for the compliment. Again, it’s not so much that he was wrong, it’s that he was so freaking arrogant about his forecast when everything was trending away from it. All meteorologists in the media have a social responsibility to prepare the public for the weather – especially weather that threatens life and property. If someone was relying solely on Accuweather and Margusity’s forecast, they would’ve been terribly mislead for far too long in advance of the storm.

      • duceman says:

        I Couldn’t agree more. Obviously, it’s far from an easy job but there should be some accountablity. The spin that he tried to claim he nailed the forecast was one the most disgusting in the history of modern day Meteorology. Especially , because of the fact he was actually riding an outlier. After calling him out on Sat night he replied to me and called me an ” ass” and something like I wanted the storm. I used to like accuweather, but can’t even bring myself to goto the site as long as he’s there. I’m happy someone took the time to write about it.

      • Steve J says:

        Wow. It’s really unfortunate that he sunk to such a low level while conversing with readers. I’d say I’m surprised Accuweather hasn’t taken any action, but unless it affects their bottom line, they probably won’t.

      • duceman says:

        Agreed on the bottom line but after Sandy it could. The first problem with Henry was when he publically went after JB on Twitter on the May midatlantic snow event. HM was openly taunting him. JB schooled him and said nothing. Shortly after HM’s twitter and FB page were suspended. Presumbably by the accuweather brass because of the negative publicity. No question weatherbell gained customers after both. Would love to know what those numbers are. At very best, he has to be on very thin ice. The Brass I’m sure are keeping an eye on his social media comments/forecasts. Be interesting to see if anything happens over there.

      • Steve J says:

        I hadn’t heard about that dust up back in May. It’s interesting that HM had his social media hands tied in the aftermath of that and, yet, it appears there have been no consequences for this incident. Of course, if AccuWeather Pro was losing subscribers to WeatherBell as a result, that would certainly explain the suspension. Then again, given how early JB had Sandy’s US landfall (and the large number of meteorologists using WeatherBell graphics on Twitter in advance of that storm), I would think this event also hurt AccuWeather’s bottom line. Who knows?

  2. Just a Note. says:

    I totally agree here I was sending tweets asking him why he was ignoring the EURO model completely. I asked him what he was doing because I didn’t get it. I was really asking him why he was jumping back in again. I tweeted him again and said you are the only one that is watching one bad model. Only you are surprised that the hurricane will do what the models say. I was very surprised. In fact I heard several people laugh and make comments that I believe were directed at him because he said “this can’t happen” in a video and totally dismissed the EURO all together saying it was totally wrong. I love Henry I just didn’t get it with this storm. Why not sit back and watch and say well let’s wait and see. Why dismiss a model all together. At one point he posted a video that said no east coast storm and dismiss the EURO while Accuweather was talking about a possible east coast strike on the websites front page. Where was the disconnect here. I am not bashing him here. I am just wondering why he took the biggest storm to hit the coast in years and lost track of being objective.

    • Steve J says:

      Your guess is as good as mine. Only Henry knows why he did what he did. I just don’t understand why he didn’t acknowledge the GFS was an outlier relative to the EURO, Canadian, and NOGAPS. He could still make his case for his forecast, but you need to recognize that you may be wrong instead of trying to find any information to prove you’ll be right. Confirmation bias at its’ finest.

  3. Steve J says:

    A couple of things…

    1) This was done with Storify. First time using that service, so I apologize if there are issues.

    2) Note the “Humor” tag. This was mostly done in fun.

    3) Although it doesn’t seem likely, Henry’s OTS forecast still holds a glimmer of hope. I don’t want this to appear as berating his forecasting, but rather the methodology and communication with readers while acknowledging there may be other factors working against Henry and other mets.

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