Greg Fishel Email Exchange

WRAL Greg Fishel Email Exchange

Wow! Who would have thought my archives would contain an actual email exchange with WRAL Weatherman Greg Fishel from the ancient days when no one even knew anything about email!

Yes, in my quick foray into the brave new world of the Internet back in 1994, I briefly thought my suggestion to limit the use of the word normal would bring the Weather broadcast to a new era of technical accuracy.

Alas, and alack, 18 years later I know better.

Here is the transcribed text for those of you who are PICA type impaired:


Greetings again!

You seem to be a pretty technical kind of guy.
Today’s question is about the use of the word “normal” in the weathercast, as in “normal temperature” etc.

Is that the actual term from the National Weather Service or is it just used as a substitute for median, mean or mode?

When I hear “normal”it implies what we are currently experiencing may be abnormal and gives ammunition to those who would have us believe global warming/cooling is a fact and would use it politically to help forward a questionable agenda.

Whereas, the use of median, mean or mode would remind people that these are numerical relationships that mean nothing in and of themselves and are always subject to changing interpretations.

The newsroom has officially acknowledged the need to use “alleged” in front of “suspect”.

“File footage” is now labeled as such.

Car “accidents” are more correctly described as “collisions”,”crashes” or “wrecks”.

Isn’t it time to review the use of subjective terms such as “normal”

******Don’t eat the yellow snow********


You are absolutely right. Normals are nothing more than an average of extremes.

The National Weather Service uses a 30 year average of temps.

The current period in use is 1961-1990.

The normals won’t be updated again until the year 2001, when the period 1971- 2000 will be used.

Normals are also like any other statistic- they can be manipulated to “prove” anything you want.

I like to think of the history of all weather as God’s database. This database is by definition huge!

We humans however think that if it hasn’t happened in our lifetime, it hasn’t happened. BULL!

Breaking 100 year old records is impressive by our finite standards, but overall, it’s nothing.

Perhaps a different term, such as “30 year average” would be helpful. I’ll pass the idea around.

Thanks for the mail!



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