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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 01/15/2010

CWG turns 2! Some feedback for us weather folks?

By Dan Stillman

* Sunday rain: Full Forecast | Arctic air sunrise at the Tidal Basin *

This month marks the second anniversary of the Capital Weather Gang on, and seems as good a time as any to get your feedback. So whether you're a weather junkie or have a more casual interest, let us know with a comment below how we're doing in our mission to become the No. 1 source for D.C. area weather -- rain, snow or shine. Compliments are fine but constructive criticism would be more helpful.

By Dan Stillman  | January 15, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capital Weather Gang  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Arctic air sunrise at the Tidal Basin
Next: PM Update: Holiday weekend starts dry


Generally things have been going okay. I have one question for the Post. When they went back to a large weather map they dropped the Alaska and Hawai'i insets. Any chance of getting at least the Alaska inset back?

In addition can we get Haiti weather updates while they recover from the earthquake? A huge rainstorm there could be devastating right now. Let's hope there's some recovery by the time hurricane season returns in June.

Has anyone been keeping up with Kim Martucci? According to her Facebook page a lot of people are moving from Channel 9 for their weather reports since her contract was not renewed.

BTW today is my 63rd birthday. Retired now but still TWO LONG YEARS from being an "official" senior citizen!

Posted by: Bombo47jea | January 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of the info and anecdotes. But the site takes a while to load, unlike other pages on the post website.

Posted by: logieberrie | January 15, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The good:
- Commentary on other weathercasters, local and national
- Post-event breakdowns of WHY a storm acted the way it did, and why the forecasts here and elsewhere got it right or wrong.
- Hyper-detailed local weather (e.g, the rain will start at 2pm in Leesburg, but 5pm in Annapolis) is way better than 30 seconds on WTOP.
- Weather history reviews, top storms, cold snaps, etc., etc.
- The School/Fedcasts...
- Photos - I always wish I had my camera with me when I see a cool cloud/ice formation or sunrise, etc., and it seems like someone here always manages to get the shot!
- Continuing discussions by responding to comments

The bad - Gimmicky stuff like using easily accessible climatology data to try to forecast Bob and Sarah's wedding a year from now
- Facebook e-mails that go out (make them wall posts instead so everyone doesn't get an e-mail) talking about nothing more than the coming week's weather. If it's a big event, sure, but not for non-events.
- Some folks might be interested in the occasional post on deciphering models or different types of forecasts. An example might be CAPE or lifting indexes before thunderstorms, an aviation TAF that denotes weather by the hour, or marine forecasts during hurricanes that really call out some of the extremes (50 foot seas, et al)

The ugly -
Can we just disable commenting on climate change related posts? The same predictable arguments between the science crowd and the flat earth crowd get really old after awhile...

Overall, this is one of my favorite blogs anywhere, and keep up the fantastic work, hope the "constructive" stuff is helpful from a former Belvedere Bulldog...

Posted by: vtavgjoe | January 15, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I'm a bit of a weather junkie, not as much as some folks. But some of your columns here I think are of enough general interest that I'm surprised the didn't link them on the front page here. The climate change columns are generally more detailed in their science than many articles I see in the main news section. And the one about the Arctic Oscillation probably would have had wide readership had people known about it.

Consider this a plug to show to your editors. And I promise I'm not a plant, as I've never met any of you all. :)

Posted by: B2O2 | January 15, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I would like a mobile friendly app. I also agree the site takes too long to load, and that emails through FB should only be done for major news.
Otherewise, love this blog, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | January 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all of the feedback so far. This is really helpful. Keep it coming :)

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | January 15, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoy the discussion of the models and how it dramatically alters forecasting. More of that please, and not just for snow. Perhaps also more regular links to the underlying data, so that when you say "might be sunny, might rain like crazy", we can click through to the data and see why the weekend forecast is so convoluted.

One nit: I would really like it if CWG and the Post weather page were on the same page.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I think you guys really do a terrific job, and CWG has become my primary source for area weather. I check it almost every day. One of the things that impresses me the most is how you guys stay involved in the conversation in the comments, and it's not unusual to see one of you posting a comment in the wee hours of the morning. That kind of engagement with your readers is impressive and really shows your dedication. I also love all the technical info here which I don't get anywhere else. Also agree with other commenters that facebook mail should only be sent for major news. Anything else should just be a wall post. Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Chip_M | January 15, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

As a nearly daily motorcycle commuter, I've come to depend very heavily on you guys and your great forecasting. I am always shocked when on the rare occasion things don't turn out as you predict! It usually means that I've not checked for updates from the long range forecasts. I also use the 'CWG Weather Wall' to time my departure for many a dry (dryer) commutes home! Please keep it up and thanks again please keep it up!

Posted by: drewbird911 | January 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I love visiting this site!

1) Remember that a lot of folks commute at least two hours just to work in the DC area, so it'd be nice if you mention expectations (especially predicted snowfall) for areas such as Frederick or Baltimore or Fredericksburg.

2) Include more long-range predictions (like for the month of February, how it probably will compare to previous Februaries). You don't need to be as gutsy as Bastardi, but I think we'd enjoy your attempts.

Posted by: JSTF | January 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I think you guys do great work, and as others have said, CWG has become THE place I go to find local weather information. I also really like the mix of stories (climate change, snowfall records, history, pictures, etc), as well as the willingness to answer people's questions in the forum (which besides the occasional nutty comment) is one of the more mature forums on major media sites these days.

A few constructive comments:
- you are nearly impossible to find via the WP mobile site. It would be great to easily access via my cell phone - it used to work, but once WP "upgraded(?)" its mobile presence, CWG has been buried.
- I don't understand why you include the links to see the "full forecast" when it's only a few more paragraphs, at most. Just put all the information on the main page.

Other than the above, keep up the good work!

Posted by: pinguino1 | January 15, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Love CWG and recommend it highly to others for easy to understand weather geek speak. I second the opinion of having you guys do a mobile-friendly page or app - unfortunately I don't "go to" you guys as much when I'm out and about because trying to view it on the website browser is a bit of a pain. I'd much prefer you other viewing.

I also find it curious that there isn't more of a connection between the weather services in the print paper vs what you guys are doing here. Why have the accuweather forecasts in print (which sometimes vary from yours) and weather-related articles quoting accuweather when the Post has their own inhouse (and better, IMHO) experts?

I am not seeing the added value to the facebook updates. But I visit your site regularly and subscribe to the RSS feed so guess I don't to also be a FB fan.

I think the Safari ad problem was solved, that was a mess for awhile, for me at least.

Other than that, keep up the good work!

Posted by: abgr | January 15, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Go back to "Capital Weather Team". Gang has always sounded silly to me ever since the move.

Posted by: JTF- | January 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm a motorcycle commuter and I'm a big fan of the CWG. I too wish that there was only one or two "updates" on the CWG page so it would load faster. I only need to see the updates from two days ago if I want them. Also, I'd like to see the wind direction and velocity more consistency.

Posted by: hawknt | January 15, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I really miss the old days, but you guys add so much value to the Post, especially in the print edition. The daily blurb is terrific and personalizes the weather a bit, and gives it a unique "Post" feel. I agree an occaisional link to weather models - especially when they differ and it would matter in the face of coming strom - would be cool and raise the level of discussions. The quality of the comments has gone downhill a bit; some of these folks who inflict political agendas or who mock others etc. has no place here, but I understand that popularity has its downside too. Overall this is a great and thoughtful space; it's clear how committed to this you are. Thank you for all you do and Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: curtmccormick | January 15, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I love CWG. Everyone who has posted here has hit on all the reasons why I check the site several times daily. I've gotten my entire family hooked on it. Please keep up the detailed discussions on the models etc., it saves dorks like me from trying to interpret them.

Posted by: weathergrrl | January 15, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Add a definition page or link of what some of the abbreviations mean, such as NAM,AO,GFS,etc. I know what most mean, but it might b a nice feature for the casual user. Enjoy the site, except 4 the usual retoric from a certain poster.

Posted by: VaTechBob | January 15, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I visit this page a lot. Loved all the forecasts and details during the big storm. Don't care about the climate change posts so much, especially all the comments.

I didn't like how you guys found fault with Accuweather for forecasting the big storm. I thought the whole thing was uncalled for.

Other than that the page takes a lot of time to load I have no complaints. I second the comment about adding weather related definitions. All the weather related info here makes me want to learn some more. The only stuff I know is to recognize various clouds :-)

Keep up the good work and thanks a lot guys.

Posted by: RoseVA | January 15, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Mobile app! Mobile app! For BB, in my case.


Posted by: --sg | January 15, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, El Bombo!

Posted by: --sg | January 15, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the site. Suggestions - a longer range forecast. Obviously the longer range, the more uncertainty - but that isn't a reason to stop at 4 days out. This could cover models and general patterns that are emerging. With all of the storm chances this winter there has been discussion in the comments about models showing storms a week or more out, but little "forecasting" - just comments about how "models change." I understand being conservative, but if your audience is weather-geeks, they probably want a little more than marginal differences with the NWS forecast details. I also think there is friction between maintaining forecast consistency and providing timely updates - again, being conservative is one approach, but I'm more interested in an intelligent discussion of emerging trends. The perpetual climate change "debate" is ridiculous, but what can you do? Well, among the "gang" at least, perhaps no more internal comments (hint hint Matt Rogers). We've already had the stellar insight of "ten reasons" I'm not a believer - try leaving it at that.

Posted by: manatt | January 16, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday CWG and El Bombo. I have been with you since day #1 of the original site and I while I miss the old site the features here have improved dramtically over the past year. I can tell you that I am not a big fan of the global warming articles and commentary - booorrrrrriiinnngg!!!! The back and forth with Mr. Q is just painful as well.

There have been very few storms to get real excited about since you launched this site two years ago so a big kudos to you on the coverage of the Storm of 2009.

I would like to see you interview each of the local mets for an ongoing series. Talk weather, ask them what got them into this occupation, etc.

Love the pictures taken by your resident photographer as well!

Posted by: stinkerflat1 | January 16, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Since Weatherwise is based in D.C., I'd like the CWG to partner with Weatherwise to help liven up their static site. It's the same content you get in the print issue of the magazine, so unless you don't subscribe, not much point in going to the Weatherwise site. And Weatherwise data is old by the time the magazine publishes its two-month recaps.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | January 16, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see an increased level of education regarding models and interpretation. Some of the other posters have alluded to this (abbreviations, static links to data and model output). Many of the readers here are interested in more than the 30s sound bite of rain or not and coat or not that we can get from other outlets. You have a enthusiastic, captive audience that has made a choice to come to your site matched with an enthusiastic, knowledgeable blogger Gang (team). Commit to make information available to those who want to know more than the topical.

The finest local weather site that I have had the privilege of interacting with. Cheers to many more anniversaries.

Posted by: goldiesc | January 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's a suggestion: I like the snow lover's crystal ball, but it looks like you only post it when you expect a storm. I think it would be cool if you had a widget up on the side all winter long. it could talk about upcoming storms when appropriate, and at other times it could maybe have stats about the last storm, and historical stats on snow at that time of the year, and maybe have farmers almanac type predictions about when we might expect a storm to come thru, even if its not actually based on anything meteorological.
i think i'd just like the opportunity to dream, ya know...

Posted by: emiliebrian | January 16, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Please lose the global warming skepticism. I love you guys, but the nadir of my respect occurred when you published the top-ten hits of long-debunked counter-theories and personal intuition as if it was a serious deliberate discussion, when 10 minutes on google would disprove it all. If this were a car talk blog and the subject was what's the best muscle car, then such opinion and gossip might be acceptable, but climate change is a very serious, very consequential issue, with clear facts and specific physical effects at issue. i'd prefer if you stick to reporting the serious science (andrew freeman does a good job) and stay away from ignorant speculating. thanks!

Posted by: emiliebrian | January 16, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

As one of the "gang" (and proud of it), I appreciate all your comments. It is gratifying that almost all are complementary and/or are straight forward with constructive criticism and serious suggestions.

As a regular contributor to CWG on a fairly wide variety of subjects , I’m curious to learn what specific topics strike readers as most interesting. I recently prepared a series of (non-geeky) lectures under the umbrella heading of “Weather Climate and You”. The eight specific (but overlapping) set of subjects are listed below. I’d appreciate opinions on what (if any?) from this list readers would like myself and/or others to write more about. Suggestions beyond this list are welcome.

Weather Climate and You: Overview of basic aspects of weather and climate systems and features with focus on the impacts on life and basic concerns of individuals and societies.

Weather Phenomena: nature and effects of various weather phenomena, including clouds and fog, thunderstorms and tornadoes, hurricanes, wintertime rain/snow storms, and el-nino/la-nina

Weather Forecasting – capabilities and limitations: review different approaches and methods utilized for providing the most reliably accurate and useful weather forecasts possible.

Weather/Ocean Connections: Nature and characteristics of weather-driven ocean waves and currents and the influence of oceans on a variety of weather phenomena and climate

Global Climate Change: Fundamentals of climate change – natural and otherwise – and explore the dependencies of societies and the natural world on climate

Space Weather: nature and impact of disturbances in earth’s geomagnetic field associated with solar storms

Controlling the Weather – Can we, should we?: Weather modification and geoengineering

Weather Potpourri: Weather and love, health, pets, sports, travel, music, names or (whatever). Weather jokes, cartoons, proverbs, jargon, and lore

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | January 16, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I've got two suggestions:

First, put Andrew Freeman and Mr. Q in the ring together, with boxing gloves, and let them duke it out once and for all....may the correct man win.

Second, the downloading times for CWG pages are MUCH too long. Remove those unnecessary ads from side of the page.....they only add to the download time. The download time is long enough with Broadband/DSL, but it can be absurd on a dial-up computer.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | January 16, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

vtavgjoe wrote "The ugly -
Can we just disable commenting on climate change related posts? The same predictable arguments between the science crowd and the flat earth crowd get really old after awhile...

manatt wrote "Well, among the "gang" at least, perhaps no more internal comments (hint hint Matt Rogers). We've already had the stellar insight of "ten reasons" I'm not a believer - try leaving it at that."

emiliebrian wrote, "Please lose the global warming skepticism."

I don't know what I find more disheartening - The fact that fellow Americans advocate for the silencing/censoring/suppressing of scientific views with which they disagree, or the fact that not one single soul has come forward to condemn their recommendations of censorship.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | January 18, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I love this blog and you definitely have the most accurate local weather reports. the snow lover's crystal ball is a delight!

Posted by: celestun100 | January 19, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I enjoy the blog and really like the personalities of the different reporters.

One request: iPhone app/friendly please!!!

Keep up the good work. In a year of rapid change in journalism, I'm glad to see you're still here.

Posted by: someonelikeyou | January 19, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary, CWG. Keep up the good work. My only gripe is that I agree with the others that sometimes the pages can take awhile to load, perhaps due to various ad servers.

I'd be interested in most any of the topics Steve T mentioned. One particular area of interest for me would be learning how to read the models to determine precip type (freezing rain vs sleet vs snow).

The climate posts, for the most part I think are interesting. And while the comment section may be predictable for those posts, it can be easily skipped by those who want to.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 20, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

One other suggestion... most blogs let commentators enter a URL so their handle links back to their homepage. That would be a nice feature for those of us with blogs.

Posted by: spgass1 | January 20, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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