Weather forecasting isn't an exact science

The front page story in Wednesday's Mail Tribune said the temperature in Medford on Thursday, May 1, would be 92 degrees. Then I turned to the back page, the weather page. There it said the high temperature on Thursday would be 88 degrees. Hmmm. Why is there a discrepancy in weather forecasts within the same issue of your newspaper?

— Robert J., Ashland

Well, Robert, in retrospect, we would have been a lot safer just listing the predicted high temperature as "hot." Which it was, smashing the previous record high by 6 degrees.

The simple — and, really, only — answer to your question is that the forecasts came from two different forecasters. Local news stories produced here at the Muggy Troubadour almost always involve a phone call to the local office of the National Weather Service. The very helpful crew there is always happy to help us and usually can offer some interesting insights into what is happening.

Our weather page is produced by WSI, which also produces The Weather Channel. WSI uses its own forecasters, and they don't always agree with the Weather Service prognosticators.

Sometimes, when we've had ample amounts of coffee and are wide awake, we'll change the weather page forecasts to match the local Weather Service predictions. Sometimes it's a decaf day and we forget to compare notes.

But when we do adjust, we go with the local folks over the WSI forecasters, because they are on the ground here, and we also have the ability to get a later, more up-to-date forecast from them.

As for that Thursday forecast, the 92-degree prediction from the National Weather Service did prove to be the correct one, confirming our faith in the hometown forecasters.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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