Let’s discuss this storm

For a glimpse into the minds of working meteorologists, the forecast discussions posted by the US National Weather Service each day are unbeatable. NWS forecasters use these to explain the reasoning behind their outlooks, acknowledging what is fairly certain and what might go wrong. Laden with jargon and sometimes sprinkled with weather-nerd humour, these discussions have never been intended for public consumption. For example, “ELY PD 2 CUD BE THE BEST CHC FOR CONVOMTNS THRU THE FCST PD” means that the early part of the second forecast period (the 12-24 hour window) could provide the best chance for convection (thunderstorms) over the mountains. Despite their semi-impenetrability, discussions were posted by a few universities on the Web starting in the mid-1990s, and the NWS soon added them to its own website.They remain little known outside the world of weather enthusiasts, although one did make the front page of the Washington Post. A forecaster had expressed his dismay at the models'handling of the storm; the Post reporter found the discussion online and pulled a few words from it for his story. With more non-meteorologists now following their discussions, forecasters are easing up a bit on the jargon.