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As many of you are quick and right to point out, forecasts have been far from satisfactory in recent times. As a forecaster, you are at the mercy of the models and they've shown little love to me (or my brethren). Even the best forecasters are limited by the quality of the data they analyze. In my case, I try to show you the model support for what I think is the most likely scenario. My goal is to simply stay on top of the trends. When things change, and they often do, I try to be the first to see the reasons and make the corrections. I say this a lot and I mean it, the best in the business cut their losses as soon as possible. No sense in being stubborn, it won't bring back the dead.

I understand my limitations and I'm always striving to learn more so that inaccuracies are reduced. Fact is, and I'm not afraid to admit it, I'm far from perfect. On the other and, I have a tremendous passion for weather and enjoy passing along what I've learned (or I see coming) to you. I'm fortunate to have this venue to express my opinions, and that's all they are, what I call educated "opinions"!

I received this comment on my Facebook page from Jodi Viveros which is worth a read and then I"ll comment.

Jodi Viveros So, it seems as though people have the belief that the weathermen can predict the future as if they got to where they are today because they have this magical power to know exactly what mother nature intends to do. They don't. They are given weather maps that don't always pan out. The way I see it, as should you lol, that every single day the models show something different. Is it Terry's fault? No. He is going off data that he can see. I'm in the QC area. I follow Terry because I choose to do so. Might not have gotten the forecasted snow, which I know is not a guarantee, but we had the freezing rain. I understand that some of you folks have business related to the weather, but it doesn't benefit any weatherman when the weather chooses to do something different. The information given to us, is the best in the moment information, that they can get out to the public. They aren't liars, they aren't trying to make something out of nothing. I would rather be over prepared than not at all.

First and foremost, thanks to Jodi for the comments which were well thought out and spot on. There are times I don't know exactly what the weather is going to do, even after 43 years in the business. When I'm wrong I'm going to hear about it and I don't expect a pity party. As Jodi says, it doesn't benefit me to make a bad forecast. What it does do is reveal my limitations and that makes me disappointed in myself. You wouldn't know that, but the people who live with me sure do!

It's a bit like sports, you go out to win every game (forecast). Never once do I think I'm going to mess things up. I have a skill set, a game plan, and the desire to implement it. I work as hard as anybody to win each and every game. However, that's just not possible and when the loses come they bring me great humility. Not because people rail at me, because I let you down.

What I do on the weather field is personal to me. If you can't see the effort and determination, all you need to do is find somebody better, a different source. However, if you can live with the flaws, I'm all yours. My thanks to all of you who value what TSwails is all about. Now it's on to the next storm. Roll weather...TS

Speaking of that, three disturbances are projected to cross the Midwest between tonight and Saturday. The first 2 are weak and won't cause much in the way of issues. The third and final disturbance looks much stronger and has the potential to be a significant snow/ice producer in some part of the central Midwest. I will address all these issues in my next post.

LAST THING, STILL 2 SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR WEATHER SCHOOL. A GREAT BUNCH OF FOLKS COMING ALONG WITH SOME TERRIFIC CASE STUDIES YOU WILL ENJOY, ESPECIALLY 2011, THE YEAR OF THE TORNADO. AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE SUPER OUTBREAK OF APRIL 27TH IN ALABAMA AND THE JOPLIN TORNADO WHICH TOOK THE LIVES OF 160. YOU WANT TO LEARN WEATHER, YOU WANT TO BE HERE. GET THE DETAILS BELOW... is offering a very special and unique opportunity to learn first-hand the ins and outs of weather forecasting with one of the best meteorologists in the Midwest along with his team of expert meteorologists.

That’s right… You want to forecast right along with Terry Swails, well now you can. He’s teaching weather with TSwails newest program called WEATHER SCHOOL. The opening bell rings this January and you can be a member of the very first graduating class. The one-day forecasting seminar for weather enthusiasts will be held at his home in January. It’s not your typical run-of-the-mill school. There will be no tests, but Terry, Rebecca, and Nick will cram your head with so much knowledge, it’ll be spinning like a tornado before the day is over.

You want to know the essential online sites to use for models, radar, and the basic weather tools? DONE! You want to understand the structure of models and the role they play? DONE! You want to be able to construct forecasts from the ground up? DONE!

WEATHER SCHOOL will be presented in a seminar-type format where you'll have the ability to ask questions and dig deep. You’ll get the scoop on data acquisition, model analysis, severe weather, and actual forecasting from the big dog himself, T. Swails. With 43 years of experience and an uncanny ability to break the science down, you’ll open the door to forecasting like never before.

Along with the head master T. Swails himself, meteorologists Rebecca Kopelman and Nick Stewart of KGAN TV will be there to lend their knowledge and experience to the discussion. It will be fun, informative, and factual! This is the day for you to see, feel, and experience what it’s like to be in the hot seat of a meteorologist.

The seminar will be held January 25th and will last from noon until 5:00pm. We have limited seating and the cost is $99 dollars per person. A catered lunch will be provided. Again..not a lot of seats so reservations with a pre-payment are required. Sorry, no refunds. If there’s enough interest, a second session will be added in early February. To register or get additional information send an email to

GIVE THE GIFT OF WEATHER. This might be the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person. Along with a WEATHER SCHOOL admittance voucher, TSwails will send a special greeting to your weather enthusiast if you give the gift of weather with the TSwails touch!



Purpose: To help weather enthusiasts understand the basics of forecasting and apply the knowledge and techniques learned to construct personal forecasts.


The essential on-line sites for models, observations, satellite and radar images, and general weather data.

Session 2: ANALYSIS:

Determining your objective goals. Short term, intermediate, or long-term. Understanding the process of analysis and its relationship to forecasting.

Model options and choices. What to use and when!

The GFS, EURO, NAM 3k, NAM 12K, Canadian, HRRR, MJO, ensembles, teleconnections, etc.

Locating, learning, and knowing what’s essential to make a reliable forecast.

The art and science of model interpretation: Using and understanding model output. Its called guidance for a reason!

Learn how to analyze key parameters such as:

Surface and upper air data

Vorticity and energy

Precipitation output

Wind and pressure


A simulation of the basic process using model output.

BREAK: A 25-30 minute recess to enjoy a catered lunch…


Thunderstorms, tornadoes, derechoes, and squall lines.

Soundings. What are they and why should I care?

Instability (CAPE) vs (CIN) Critical interaction involving moisture, heating, and forcing.

Uncovering the ingredients of a severe weather set-up.

TVS signatures. What to look for on radar.

Role of SPC vs NWS, and your local TV station regarding the warning process.

Simulated model driven forecast of a severe weather event/tornado outbreak


The key ingredients required for significant winter storm:

How to forecast the rain snow line.

How to forecast snow totals from QPF

Determining totals from snow ratios.

What to look for at the surface and at upper levels (500 and 850mb)

Model bias and determining the storm track

Simulated model driven forecast of a significant Midwest winter storm


An open period for attendees to ask questions regarding relevant topics or issues discussed during the day.


Some final words of inspiration from the events headliners

Once again, to reserve a spot or ask questions send an email to See you when the bell rings! Roll weather...T. Swails

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