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May-June 2009

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Weather Forecast Uncertainty: The Public's Perspective

Mathematician John Allen Paulos once said, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is.” And perhaps nowhere in society is the factor of uncertainty as important as it is in the weather forecasts we use each day.

The public depends on meteorologists to provide the most accurate information available to help them plan their daily lives. As such, the questions of how well the meteorological community is communicating uncertainty to the public and how the public is interpreting this information are important to the meteorological community, because the answers could help meteorologists and emergency planners get important, weather-related information to the public in an accurate, understandable, and useful way.

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