As forecasters it's our job to be as accurate as possible with both the forecast and the terminology. I've learned to better communicate messages and that a flippant comment can inadvertently become a headline.
During one cold blast I said to a reporter: "If you placed the SkyTower twice on itself it would be snowing at the top." Within a few hours social media sites were mocking me. "If you put SkyTower in Antarctica it would be cold"; "If you put SkyTower 20 times on itself it would be in outer space."
Both forecasters and reporters have certain terminology they like to use.
My most hated term is "batten down the hatches". Unless you own a big boat it's very dated.
Augie Auer used "blue dome day". I actually like that description as you can see it in your head. But another of his sayings, "ditto-day", annoyed people.
Bob McDavitt once used the term "weather bomb" and it has since been much misused. It is a correct term, but next time you hear it, check WeatherWatch.co.nz - if we're not using it then it isn't a weather bomb.
After the polar blast last August, Breakfast interviewed MetService spokesman Dan Corbett. Petra Bagust asked him to explain polar outbreaks and this was his reply.
"Think of it like having a layer of treacle that sits at the top of the poles and somebody just gives it a bit of a nudge and it just starts to ooze but in this case instead of oozing it's just gone brrr [hand gesture] straight across much of New Zealand and with it as well we're getting these little surges of moisture that are coming through and they're the surges of moisture almost like spokes on a bicycle wheel ..."
Follow that one?
Forecasters are forever trying to find new words and phrases that stick.
The best weather analogy I've heard came from Chad Myers at CNN. I met him in 2009, told him I was a big fan, and asked if I could use one of his his analogies in my Herald videos. It was on the lines of: "When you're thinking of a hurricane or cyclone think of them like an ice skater spinning - as they pull their arms in they spin faster - a tropical storm does the same thing, as the isobars get pulled in closer, the low spins faster, the winds get stronger".
That's my favourite as I can see it clearly in my head. So we have to draw a picture in your mind that makes you say, "Oh, now I get it.".By Philip Duncan Email Philip