Mike’s review of The Coming Storm > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Raffetto LOL


message 2: by Mike (new)

Mike Smith What did you find amusing?


message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim Berkshire Interesting perspective. I'm usually one to immediately embrace anything anti Trump, but I appreciate the perspective of something who was in the trenches. Shame on Lewis for not stretching his investigative muscles.


message 4: by JJ (new)

JJ Jackman Hello Mr. Smith - Question about your blog response - what's AccuWeather's definition of "clients"?


message 5: by Mike (new)

Mike Smith The role of the National Weather Service is to provide forecasts and storm warnings to the public-at-large.

The role of the private sector in meteorology is to provide tailored products to specific industries and enterprises. For example, the two railroads (among others) that serve Joplin were clients of AES that day. We provided accurate tornado warnings to them. One of the railroads wrote a heartfelt letter thanking us for protecting their people and their equipment.

So, when Michael Lewis snarlingly asked, "Where was AccuWeather when the tornado was moving through Joplin?!.." that's what we were doing. He didn't even bother to research his claim. He just assumed.

Tragically, the people of Joplin would have been far better of with AccuWeather serving them that day than the National Weather Service.

Thank you for asking.


message 6: by Chantelle (new)

Chantelle I think one of Lewis's main points is that there's something fundamentally wrong with only giving people life-saving information if they have paid you for that service. If AccuWeather was aware that people's lives were in danger, shouldn't there be a fundamental obligation to share that information whether they are paying customers or not? That seemed to be a main argument against the privatization of data. Only those who can pay for the service will now be able to use that potentially life-saving information. I felt that Lewis was arguing this should be a public service, not something you need to pay for, and that was his largest criticism of AccuWeather's actions. I do agree that it would have been nice to hear people's opinions from that perspective though.


message 7: by Mike (last edited Sep 13, 2018 07:49AM) (new)

Mike Smith Hi Chantelle,

At no time has anyone: AccuWeather, Barry Myers or yours truly advocated for putting NWS storm warnings behind a paywall. Even the Santorum bill did NOT do that. I agree that storm warnings should be available from the NWS to everyone.

Congress has designated the NWS to have the role of warning the public, not private sector meteorology. What would happen if the NWS, say, issued a tornado warning but AccuWeather said "no tornado"? Would you go halfway down the basement stairs? Confusion when a tornado is approaching is a bad thing and can cause lives to be lost. My position is we need Barry Myers to fix the issues that currently exist with NWS tornado warnings.

As a practical matter, how would you suggest that AccuWeather warn non-clients? AW has a wonderful app that does an amazing job of relaying NWS warnings while filtering out those that do not apply to the user's location. AccuWeather makes that service available for free (which Lewis did not note). But, if there were a mix of warning sources, it would be mass confusion.

I agree 100% NWS storm warnings should be free. That said, yesterday, I got a flu shot. I paid for it.

When my wife fell in 2016, we got a bill (paid for by insurance eventually) for her ambulance trip even though the taxpayers of Sedgwick Co. pay for the ambulance service and EMT's.

Those and many other lifesaving services are NOT free.

My point is, Why should all of meteorology be "free"? AccuWeather pays many hundreds of thousands yearly for raw data (another of Lewis' many errors, it is not all free). How is AW supposed to make a profit paying its people, paying the rent and paying for data if it gives away everything free?

And, isn't it a public good if AccuWeather's (paid) warning prevents a train from derailing in a tornado or helps get vital generators to the warning zone ahead of a hurricane?

Thank you for asking.


message 8: by Chris (new)

Chris Hamilton Interesting and informative take on the material. I appreciate you coming on here and taking the time to give your take on the book and answering questions and comments. It's a very short book and a bit of a strange one for me personally. The audible book is only two chapters, broken up into a little over a hour a piece. I've listened to the first one today and will finish it up tomorrow. It started off really interesting with a great background on some of the main players, but then it seemed to take a sharp turn into a fiery attack on accuweather and on the foolishness of the Trump administration. It also does seem to make heroic figures out of the two figures mentioned before. The book is enjoyable enough and it moves with a good pace and is written well, but it just felt a bit strange and forced to me. Thanks again for posting and a very informative on the blog for your point of view.


message 9: by Ericka (new)

Ericka Clouther I read what you wrote and it proves, not disproves, what Lewis said about AccuWeather.


message 10: by Mike (new)

Mike Smith Hi Ericka, I'd be happy to discuss with you if you would like.


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