How much pressure goes into forecasting a big snowstorm?By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There is a lot of preparation that goes into the arrival of a winter storm on a personal and public level.

The common thread is the dependence on the forecast to let us know what is coming.

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No one is more aware of that need than KDKA-TV Meteorologists Ray Petlin, Ron Smiley, Kristin Emery, and Mary Ours.

So how much pressure is there?

Kristin Emery: “Immense pressure, I’m stressed out today. Just because I mean because we have all the extra work behind the scenes of, you know, everybody in our staff and our newsroom we all want to get it right.”
Ron Smiley: “This is a very type of system that gives you those nerves where you start to see these big totals.”
Ray Petelin: “You look at every model run every day to see where it is to see how it’s moving to see when it’s going to get here.”
Kristin Emery: “On a storm like this, the models are all over the place.”
Ron Smiley: “But you know you’re so close and so close from all of this snow being some rain.”

So they scour the data coming in to focus on a collective idea of what is coming knowing what is at stake.

Ray: “You want to make sure you get those impacts right for the people who are going to be impacted by it.”
Ron: “Our goal, our job is to try to get things as right as possible as right as we possibly can to help prepare you guys for what is possible.”

They also take this all very personal.

Kristin: “If you project snow and the salt trucks are out and people call off school and it doesn’t materialize. I get mad at myself when things like that happen.”

Ron worries more about under forecasting and having people get stuck in an unexpected situation.

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Ray: “To be 1,000% honest, each and every meteorologist is their own worst critic.”
Kristin: “Everybody wants to get it right.”

WATCH: Kristin Emery, Ray Petelin, and Ron Smiley Discuss Forecasting A Winter Storm

When the forecast is done and the storm finally arrives?

Ray: “I will run to the window and during the whole event. I’ll have one eye on the radar and one eye on the window that’s why I look crosseyed.”
Ron: “So you just kind of have to at that point. Take out the Xbox, play some video games do something where you can kind of relax.”
Kristin: “So you can bet that every hour on the hour. I’ll be peeking you know checking the radar peeking outside.”
Ron: “Fortunately I don’t bite my nails our I wouldn’t have them anymore.”

What about when the forecast ends up being correct?

Ray: “There is certainly a strut that goes on its like a scoop pull when your walkin’,” he says with a broad smile.
Ron: “And at the end of the day you kind of walk away you look at what happened where you were good, where you were bad and you try to improve for the next one.”

Meteorologist Mary Ours, who is on vacation this week, says her phone is still ringing and buzzing with friends and family wanting the inside scoop.

You see even when they are not on the air, at home, in the grocery, and on social media, everybody wants to know:

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How soon? How much?