Thursday, September 22, 2005

The War Between Accu-Weather and the NWS Flares Again

The war between Accu-Weather and the NWS flares again.

First the folks at Accu-Weather basically are calling the National Hurricane Center forecasts useless. Here is a screen shot so Accu-Weather's words can live in posterity...

Above, see the edited blurb, cleaned up but the damage already done.

Now, this blurb about how Homeland Security Boss Michael Chertoff used Accu-Weather in the forecasting of Katrina and NOT the government's own National Weather Service forecasts. The hearing was held on Tuesday, September 21st.

The Senate Commerce Committee held hearings this afternoon on
Katrina. The House Science Committee will be holding hearing
Wednesday morning (9/21). Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) asked Max
Mayfield whether it was true that Secretary Chertoff (the head of
homeland security) & Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used
Accuweather for hurricane forecasts of Katrina and he confirmed it.
The National Infrastructure Command Center in DHS prepared
an "overnight summary" for Secretary Chertoff on Katrina that was
based on Accuweather hurricane predictions rather than hurricane
forecast information from the National Hurricane Center. This dates
from when former PA. Governor Ridge was Secretary of homeland

What's even most shocking is that the "NOAA Desk" in the DHS Ops
Center, staffed by a primary & two backup NWS meteorologists, prepared
forecasts for Secretary Chertoff based on the National Hurricane
Center; however, it is unsure that this ever made it to the
Secretary. To make matters worse & even more confusing, FEMA relies
solely on NWS products, which includes those issued by the National
Hurricane Center. So FEMA (which only uses NWS) and the DHS (which
uses Accuweather) are not even looking at the same forecasts! The NWS
NHC's track for Katrina was significantly different & more accurate
than Accuweather's. Just recently, Accuweather's track for Ophelia
brought it across Florida & into the Gulf. In both cases,
Accuweather's forecast was dead wrong. The end result is that the
head of homeland security & DHS & FEMA received conflicting forecasts.

Sen. Bill Nelson also asked Max Mayfield about consolidation and
downsizing of WFOs and Max Mayfield unequivocally said it was a very
bad idea, and that he hopes that it doesn't happen and that the local
WFOs are an essential part of NWS. Senator Nelson also trashed
Accuweather and, without naming Santorum, blasted those who would try
to take NWS off the air and off the internet to help commercial