Clients who retain private forecasting company have the advantage of tailored or operationally driven forecasts. Depending on the type of client/business weather constraints and concerns vary widely. Being able to provide clients with forecasts directly driven by the type of operation and weather concerns is a huge advantage. Clients of private forecasting companies consistently praise the companies’ ability to help operationalize their forecasts. Every day, outdoor businesses plan for the day’s operation by raAs Carl Braley, Airport Superintendent for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire (Manchester-Boston Regional Airport), describes his relationship with his private forecast company: “This is the decision I need to make. How should I decide?” Instead of supplying just data and forecasts, Rob Carolan, President of Hometown Forecast Services, knows that Braley needs to decide whether to close the Manchester airport or even bring in extra personnel if aircraft are likely to be diverted to Manchester from other storm-affected airports. Each of these decisions can involve extreme costs that far exceed the fee for an entire year’s private forecasting contract. Therefore, clients need to get data and forecasts that are directly relevant to their business operations and costs. They need forecasters to be willing to explain how these data and forecasts translate into the decisions they need to make. And they need forecasters who are willing to speak in terms of probabilities, not unattainable certainties. In Braley’s words, “Part of the value of the service is knowing levels of probability. In my work, de-icing the airfield may cost me $60,000-$80,000, so I need to understand the likelihood of any particular weather occurrence.
The smallest details can yield savings or headaches. Dwyer states, “It is very important to know the timeline with accuracy as it affects how I utilize my people and equipment.” He continues, “I’m in charge of salting and snow operations, so timing has a dramatic impact on how we approach things. Will the sun break in time to melt away the ice glaze on the sidewalks? Do I want all my trucks out salting the roads—with expensive overtime—or can today’s core crew do the job?” Clearly the forecasters don’t make these ultimate decisions, but they need to be helpful in translating their forecasts into operational inputs.