Forecast for Thursday: It’s National Weatherpersons Day

Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert is a local expert on weather and the California climate.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert is a local expert on weather and the California climate.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

There was no sign, no warm buildup providing clues. In fact, meteorologist Scott Sukup had totally missed the forecast for Thursday.

It is National Weatherpersons Day.

“I’m not sure anyone in the office was aware,” the National Weather Service meteorologist said. “I’ve seen it on social media today.”

Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge, said he found out that it was National Weatherpersons Day while watching the morning news. He also whiffed on the forecast.


“It’s my day. Show me a little respect,” he said. “There should be a National Weatherpersons Day! We suffer so much abuse during the year. We’re like the Rodney Dangerfield of professions. Everybody likes to diss the weatherman.”

National Weatherpersons Day, observed on Feb. 5, honors the birth of John Jeffries in 1744.

According to, Jeffries, “one of America’s first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 .… This is a day to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the best weather, water, and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation.”

That doesn’t mean it’s easy being a weather expert.

Patzert said weather forecasters can be right many times over, but it’s when they get something wrong, no matter how incremental, that they hear about it.

“Everyone likes to make fun of you,” he said.

Sukup, who said he used to watch the Weather Channel a lot growing up in Albany, N.Y., said, “You have to have thick skin to be a meteorologist because a lot of times forecasts don’t work out. But we try to do the best we can with the information available.”

Even family members will tease you if you get something wrong, he said.

But Sukup said he feels “we get a lot of positive feedback from the public.” He said firefighters and fire officials can be very grateful because weather people help provide fire weather forecasts.

Patzert, who said he got one of his first merit badges as a Boy Scout for weather, said most people who work in weather toil behind the scenes -- far away from TV screens, helping to pave the way for things like severe weather forecasts.

Few are blessed with awesome weather person names, like Dallas Raines and Johnny Mountain -- or get recognized on the street. (Raines, chief meteorologist for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, is a “really nice guy,” Patzert said .)

Thanked for his service, Patzert was asked whether he had anything special planned for National Weatherpersons Day.

“I don’t think I’m going to go out, or get a National Weatherpersons Day cake,” he said. “I guess what I should do is repent for all my bad forecasts. That’s probably the appropriate thing to do.”

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