TV Weather Forecasters Reveal 15 Secrets Viewers Don’t Know

If you turn on the news only to watch the weather, you’re not alone. But what do weather forecasters know that you don’t? Here are 15 secrets about the weather forecast you probably were unaware of.

Plus, check out page 9 to see just how reliable — or unreliable — those long-range forecasts really are.

Meteorologists make more money than most others in the news room

Research meteorologist Karen Kosiba monitors a supercell thunderstorm

Meteorologists make more. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Believe or not, the news anchors aren’t necessarily the highest paid personalities in the newsroom. The weather report is one of the top reasons why people turn on a news broadcast in the first place. So meteorologists are often some of the highest paid people in the newsroom. According to Forbes, in 2016, the average annual salary for a meteorologist was $92,460.

Next: Meteorologists are always wearing this. 

Meteorologists definitely wear makeup on camera, regardless of gender

News anchor makeup

Bob Herzog’s makeup video went viral. | Bob Herzog via Facebook

Everyone on camera wears makeup. And if they don’t, it’s a big deal. It doesn’t matter what gender of the meteorologist is; everyone with a career on live television knows what it’s like to have makeup caked on during every commercial break. After all, the news crew from that hit morning show can’t look like they just rolled out of bed and came to set.

Next: Here’s why forecasters love bad weather. 

Bad weather equals good ratings

St. Martin during Hurricane Irma

Severe weather makes more people watch. | Lionel Chamoiseau/AFP/Getty Images

Whenever a storm is in the forecast, people love to hear every last detail on it. When it’s going to be sunny, nobody pays close attention to the weather. After all, picnics and ball games aren’t canceled due to sunshine. But if a bad thunderstorm or blizzard could potentially hit, people tend to be glued to their televisions. This boosts ratings for meteorologists and broadcasts, so the weather forecasters love it.

Next: It’s important to know the difference between these two. 

Storm ‘warnings’ are much more serious than ‘watches’

winter storm

A warning means the storm is headed there. | Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Some people choose not to pay attention to the weather because it’s not always right. But one rule of thumb: Know the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means the conditions for a storm are favorable, but whether there will be a bad storm is still up in the air. But a warning means the weather has already developed; if there is a warning, it means there is certainty a bad storm is headed your way, so take precautions as necessary.

Next: The weather is most likely to be wrong this time of year. 

The weather is very likely to be wrong in the summer

Mountains from Grand Teton National Park

Summer sunset | Dean_Fikar/iStock/Getty Images

During the summer months, there is more moisture in the air, which means scattered showers and thunderstorms can pop up almost anywhere at almost any time. This makes it very hard to predict whether or not it will rain and also explains why we often see some percentage of showers in the forecast when we check our weather apps.

Next: But reporting in the summer is easier than reporting this time of year. 

But it’s easier to report weather in the summer than the winter

Weather monitoring for Shipping in control room

Weather center | Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images

This is because temperatures in the summer often don’t mean much change — if it’s rainy and 75 or rainy and 77, it’s still rainy. But in the winter, a few degrees can mean the difference between rain and a snow storm. And if a meteorologist says it will rain, but then it snows five inches, it makes for very angry viewers.

Next: You’ve been measuring humidity all wrong. 

If you want to measure humidity, look at the dew point

Humidity index gauge

The dew point will tell you what it’s really like outside. | phattaraphum/iStock/Getty Images

Most people look at the relative humidity to tell how humid it is. But actually, the best way to tell is by looking at the dew point. That’s because humidity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sticky, but a high dew point does. If the dew point is over 65 degrees, expect it to feel sticky. And if it’s above 75, it really won’t feel good. The dew point is the best measure of moisture in the atmosphere.

Next: Believe it or not, this rumor about lightning is true. 

If there’s a lightning storm, you may want to avoid the shower

Lightning strikes a town. | iStock/Getty Images

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), it is actually possible to get struck by lightning while showering. The NWS has issued warnings that lightning can strike the metal pipes that lead to your shower. If you’re mid-rinse, you can get struck by lightning. Always wait until after a storm passes before hopping in the shower — cleanliness isn’t worth your life.

Next: Here’s what experts have to say about long-range forecasts. 

Don’t trust that 15-day forecast

Weather forecast on a digital display

Anything more than five days out is hit or miss. | AdrianHancu/iStock/Getty Images

If you think meteorologists aren’t that great at predicting the weather, then you definitely shouldn’t trust what a 15-day forecast says. If you want to see the weather for more than five days out, think again. According to, even a 10-day forecast varied greatly in accuracy compared to a five-day forecast. When you’re interested in the weather for a particular day, the most accurate forecast will be three days or sooner.

Next: Here’s another type of forecast you can’t trust. 

And you can’t rely on the yearly hurricane forecasts, either

Hurricane Harvey is photographed aboard the International Space Station as it intensified on its way toward the Texas coast

Hurricane Harvey is photographed aboard the International Space Station. | NASA via Getty Images

Meteorologists make their best predictions for the upcoming hurricane season’s forecasts, but the truth is, they’re typically not very accurate. Meteorologists use weather patterns and clues, such as warmer-than-usual ocean temperatures, to predict what the hurricane season will be like. But since weather is so changeable, it’s almost impossible to accurately predict anything too far in advance.

Next: Just about anyone can call themselves one of these. 

Just about anyone can call themselves a meteorologist

Weather forecast. Little girl standing in front of camera on green screen.

There isn’t a legal definition. | DmitriMaruta/iStock/Getty Images

According to Reader’s Digest, there is no legal definition of a meteorologist. So anyone with a passion for the weather can consider themselves one. But to find a trustworthy weather person, only listen to those certified by the American Meteorological Society — they are the real deal.

Next: Here is a ranking of how sunny it is, in weather forecasters’ terms. 

Here’s the actual rank of how much sunshine there is:

Blue and orange sunset sky

Sun shining through the clouds | Dovapi/iStock/Getty Images

Reader’s Digest reported that the scale is: Cloudy, mostly cloudy, partly sunny, partly cloudy, mostly sunny, and sunny. So if you were wondering whether partly cloudy is nicer than partly sunny, it is.

Next: Is that ‘fry an egg on the sidewalk’ rumor actually true? 

You’ll (probably) never be able to fry an egg on the sidewalk

Egg on sidewalk

Frying an egg on the pavement is just a myth. | zdo9/iStock/Getty Images

Despite this popular rumor, it’s not really possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk. You’d need a temperature of 158 degrees Fahrenheit to cook the egg thoroughly, and even with temperatures in the triple digits, a sidewalk likely wouldn’t get above 145 degrees. But if you had an excellent heat conductor, a mirror, and a lot of patience, there’s a small chance you could do it on the hottest day of the year.

Next: says this is the best place to hide during a tornado. 

The lower the better when hiding from a tornado

Tornado touching down in Oklahoma

Tornado touching down in Oklahoma. | NOAA Photo Library/Getty Images advises that in the event of a tornado, the closer to the ground you are, the better. The basement is the best place to wait it out. But make sure you’re not standing directly underneath any heavy living room furniture, such as a piano. The first floor, in an area that would shield you from falling debris (such as a hallway closet), is the next best place to find shelter.

Next: You won’t actually catch a cold if you do this. 

You won’t actually catch a cold if you go outside with wet hair

Hair wash

Woman washing her hair. | Esp2k/iStock/Getty Images

Contrary to popular belief, having wet hair in cold weather doesn’t make you any more prone to viruses, according to Reader’s Digest. Viruses don’t fare any better in cold weather than warm weather. But having wet hair when it’s cold out might make you feel colder, so it’s a good idea to blow dry it before going outdoors.

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