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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Snow pushes record, employees

Winter weather in Bowling Green is evident this year, highlighted by the near record-breaking amount of snow that has powdered Northwest Ohio since the start of 2005.

Thus far in January, 26.6 inches of snow has fallen at the Toledo Express Airport, and the National Weather Service ranked it as the second highest amount of snowfall for January.

The amount of snow this month has been unusually high and is nearing the top recorded total for January, which is 30.8 inches in 1978, said Jay Berschback, meteorologist at television station WTVG-TV in Toledo.

Last weekend’s storm dumped about seven inches of snow during the night Friday and throughout the day Saturday.

Public Works, the company that serves Bowling Green, began plowing the street at 3 a.m. Saturday, said Dennie Slaughterbeck, Public Works superintendent.

“We pretty much told everybody last weekend to be here because we knew it was coming,” Slaughterbeck said.

Plowers at Public Works have definitely felt the effects of the substantial amounts of snow this month, as they’ve poured in extra hours to keep city streets safe.

“Throughout last week and the weekend, we had about 700 hours in overtime,” Slaughterbeck said. “We try to keep the main roads open like Wooster Street and Main Street.”

The crews also sprinkled a towering 300 tons of salt on the roads, a higher amount than normal.

Weather changes minute by minute and there was evidence of that during the latest storm that rolled through Northwest Ohio.

Meteorologists predicted seven to nine inches to accumulate over the weekend, with most of it falling on Friday.

But overnight, changes in the atmosphere developed and most of the snow came throughout the day Saturday, Berschback said.

A common misconception that people have about the weather is that it is predictable, said Arthur Samel, associate professor in the Department of Geology.

“People think it’s more predictable than it is,” he said. “They think because the weather is always there, it should be more predictable.”

Forecasting the weather could be described as an educated guessing game, Berschback said.

“It’s just a prediction like anything else in life,” he said. “There are so many variables and you have to think about everything. It’s not black and white, it’s gray.”

At WTVG-TV, meteorologist suse a Doppler radar called Live Doppler 13000 to pick up on rain, snow and storms, but one of their main tools used to forecasts is a computer model called Predictor.

It’s a computer that changes the sky into numbers and symbols and calculates the equations that pattern the atmosphere. The computer takes all the equations and reads the differences they’re all predicting, Berschback said.

The processes of the Predictor can be compared with using different resources like dictionaries and encyclopedias when writing a paper to produce a finalized piece.

Even with the technology that is available to meteorologists, weather forecasts cannot be guaranteed due to the fickle nature of the atmosphere.

“Even people who know how to forecast are surprised from time to time,” Samel said. “When you think you’ve got it, weather has a way of surprising you with details.”

There isn’t a firm understanding of all the physics that cause the atmosphere to move the way it does, he said.

“There’s so much still there to be learned,” Samel said. “Weather is good at keeping people who forecast it humble.”

Sometimes one of the most useful tools in predicting the weather are our eyes and ears, Berschback said.

“People rely so much on technology, they forget about their bodies,” he said. “Computers are smart, but as a human, we can factor more than a computer.”

Berschback uses his body as a daily tool when reporting and predicting the weather to ensure what he is reporting is accurate at that time.

Computers are reliable, but if the radar indicates that it’s raining outside and it’s not raining outside, the forecast becomes unreliable.

“If you can’t get it right right now, how can you expect to get it right in the future?,” he said.

Currently, weather remains one of the few things that cannot be governed by mankind.

All you can do is get ready for it, because there is nothing you can do to stop it, Berschback said.

“At this point, we really can’t control it,” he said. “It’s hard to predict because we can’t control it.”

The sheer strength of weather and the magnitude of force it can exert enthralls Berschback as a meteorologist.

“My No. 1 fascination is the power of weather and the amount of energy in the sky above and how it’s all connected globally,” he said. “It affects everybody, everyday.”

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