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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 29 September 2017 > THE WEATHER REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED


Better data and microstations are making forecasting better—but never perfect


IT’S EASY TO take weather forecasting for granted. Every goofy TV meteorologist told us more than a week ahead that Hurricane Irma was turning into a giant storm that would nail the U.S. East Coast. Given the incomprehensible complexity of weather, such a feat is like predicting today who will win the 2020 presidential election. (Crowdsourced site Paddy Power gives Oprah 33-to-1 odds.)

Over the next few years, technology will make weather modeling even more precise and useful, which is good news as the planet enters an era of worse storms driven by climate change. Not only will models get a better bead on storms that can wreck things, but superspecific forecasts will integrate with everyday actions. An app might read your calendar and automatically let you know that there is going to be a rain cloud directly over your patio the moment people arrive for that barbecue a week from Saturday.

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INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE During the 2016 election, conservatives turned on the principles that had once animated them. Somehow a movement based on real ideas,such as economic freedom and limited government, had devolved into a tribe that valued neither principle nor truth; luminaries such as Edmund Burke and William F. Buckley Jr. had been replaced by media clowns such as Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos. Icons such as Ronald Reagan, with his optimism and geniality had been supplanted by the dark, erratic narcissism of Donald Trump. With anger and bravado, Trump declared war against Reaganism during the 2016 campaign and some people loved him for it.