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Dear Paul

How to predict snowfall, and what not to wear

Dear Paul
Photo by Tim Carroll (Illustration)

Can some TV meteorologists really forecast the weather better than others? Isn’t it all about having the right gadgets? Great question! Believe it or not, the nationwide accuracy for the 24-hour forecast is 87 percent. But, of course, most viewers remember the 13 percent of the time we blow it, especially on a summer weekend. The truth is, all meteorologists start with the same raw data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: a current snapshot and a mind-numbing assortment of computer models peering into the future. These models are fickle, and some work better than others. A keen memory can help the forecast process, along with an ability to think rationally, not emotionally (I like snow, for example, but I can’t let that flavor my forecast just because I’m hoping for a snow day). Most days there is little difference in the forecast from station to station. The biggest disagreement is how many inches of snow will pile up. It’s better to be conservative: Take the predicted snowfall amount and divide by two—that may be closer to reality.
 

Could Brett Favre actually have made the Vikings better anyway? My wife and I were very close to renting our Eden Prairie home to Mr. Favre, his wife, their daughter, and the family’s black lab. So I’m as disappointed as everyone else. I think his very presence would have elevated the level of play. The right talent arriving at the right time can change expectations, momentum, and even the outcome, increasing the chance for ultimate success.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Looks like we fell for Brett’s latest fake, too. Our apologies.

I’m in high school, kind of nerdy, and want to dress better. As one nerd to another, any sartorial advice? Growing up, I often looked to Bill Gates for my wardrobe and styling cues. Try to look confident—like you don’t care all that much about what you’re wearing. Girls go for geeky confidence that transcends all logic. But go slow with facial hair. I tried a mustache for a few weeks back in 2003. On the air, it looked like a sickly albino centipede.
 

Got a question for Paul Douglas? Send it to dearpaul@mnmo.com


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