Weather Terminology

As the season begins to shift towards winter, so too shifts the terminology of weather forecasts. Cold, cooler, blustery, and chilly are just a few of the terms utilized by weathermen to describe the changing of the seasons. It comes to question though, what exactly is cold?

It’s a certainly a deceptively simple question, but not one that has an immediate nor easy answer. What a person defines as cold weather is very subjective and different for almost everyone. It can even change depending on which way the weather has been trending. I, for example, would fine 40 degree weather rather cold at the time of this post, but very nice and warm next spring as we come back out of the cold winter of North Dakota.

An equally large trap in terminology is in using the words “good” and “bad” for the weather. A rain event can be concerned bad by those with plans outdoors that need sunshine, but farmers who need the rain for their crops, (especially this year), may think the rain is quite good. The same thing with temperatures. Personally, I enjoy cooler temperatures because they allow me to play sports outside without working out too much of a sweat.

To complicate matters further, people in different regions have their own attitudes towards precipitation and temperature. What’s cold in Louisiana might not be considered cold in Minnesota. All of this has to be considered when delivering a forecast. It might occur to some that you could just read the temperatures and not try to describe the weather as well, but this would leave the forecast dry and boring. Thus, it is well worth the effort to get to know the type of region you are forecasting for so that you can keep your forecasts interesting and colloquially “correct”.

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