Dissecting a Forecast

This phenomenon drives me bonkers. 

Environment Canada aka the government forecasts our weather for us.  As taxpayers, we pay for it.  There’s a lot of debate about whether The Weather Network is more reliable, blah blah but the bottom line is, there’s an expectation of professionalism at the least and accuracy – okay, it IS still weather so accuracy isn’t likely a goal.   But how about clarity?

In my role as an on-air coach with announcers one of my main messages is to remind them to “talk the way people talk”.  In other words, lose the formalities that so often become traps for announcers.  Speak properly but casually and accurately.  So please look at this sentence from yesterday afternoon’s forecast and tell me why, why, why someone would ever write this! It doesn’t even make sense and this kind of writing crops up on the EC forecasts more often than you might imagine:

“Showers ending this evening then cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Low 19.”

I’m sorry – didn’t you just say “showers ending”?  So then why are you continuing by saying a 60 percent chance of showers?   Why don’t you say widespread showers ending or showers tapering to 60 percent or…something that reads in human, English language??

Sigh.  I told you it drove me bonkers.  Sometimes I feel like I’m bailing the Titanic with a teaspoon.

2 thoughts on “Dissecting a Forecast”

  1. This evening’s forecast, cloudy with a 60% chance of showers, a risk of thunder storms and a low of 19 over night.
    … but then, what do I know, I’m not a writer or broadcaster, maybe I should join your class.

    1. I see what you’re saying but it’s not separated that way. It’s under “this afternoon” and then “Showers ending” is followed immediately by “a 60 percent chance of showers.” It CAN make sense once it is edited and broken down….by why should it have to be???

Comments are closed.