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Weathermen feel bad when they are wrong

The Boston Globe is being so kind as to humanize meteorologists this week. I am grateful.

Deluged
Local meteorologists know that a bad call will likely result in a storm of protest from viewers

By Vanessa E. Jones, Globe Staff | October 27, 2005

''The Weather Man" may be a film about the relationships a weather forecaster has with his wife (whom he's divorcing), his father (who's ill), and his two kids (who are experiencing assorted problems). But anyone who's caught the trailer for the movie, which opens tomorrow, will be struck by the vitriolic relationship between the lead character, played by Nicolas Cage, and his viewers. During the time it takes for the trailer to unspool, Cage's meteorologist gets pelted by a chocolate shake, a box of chicken nuggets, and an array of candy-colored drinks tossed by frustrated viewers who recognize him.

Of course, ''The Weather Man" is a movie. In the real world, none of Boston's local weather forecasters cop to ever being beaned by flying objects.

''I think the public would probably like to throw some things at us once in a while," says Mish Michaels, a meteorologist at CBS4 who's worked in the business for 14 years, ''but thus far I have been fortunate enough that they have maintained composure and have maintained a restraint."

Local meteorologists acknowledge that viewers can sometimes be cantankerous. Technical advances in weather forecasting have raised expectations about accuracy. Unfortunately, meteorologists don't always get it right, leading to passionate responses ranging from death threats to demands for the weather forecaster's dismissal to doubts about the meteorologist's intelligence. It doesn't help that the popularity of e-mail has increased the amount of interaction between forecasters and the people who watch them.


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