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The Value of Using a Weather Expert for Insurance Claims and Legal Cases

Contributed by Steve Roberts, CCM – CompuWeather Sr. Forensic Meteorologist, Weather Expert and Certified Consulting Meteorologist

In today’s society where information is as close as our nearest mobile device, it is important to understand the risks associated with obtaining and reviewing Internet weather data for the professional evaluation of a weather-related legal case or insurance claim.

First and foremost not all weather data available is accurate. Even government certifiable data can contain inaccuracies that only a trained meteorologist can recognize and supplement. Data can also be missing from some weather stations while giving the appearance that the type of missing weather data did not occur during that period. For example, many daily weather stations do not include daily snowfall totals or existing snow and ice depth. This can provide the appearance that no snow or ice existed during the period in question, while the reality could be quite different.

A forensic meteorologist has access to many sources of credible weather data and the knowledge to interpret the data with respect to accuracy and relevance for an incident location. Doppler radar imagery is a very helpful tool for determining weather conditions for the areas in between weather stations. Doppler can be used for determining the magnitude and characteristics of precipitation and wind for a precise location. While Doppler radar is a very useful tool, it requires a trained meteorologist with an education and background in Remote Sensing technology to provide an accurate interpretation of the data. Geography and climatology are also very important aspects to consider when it comes to determining the weather for a location of incident. In many cases the closest available data is not always the most representative data based on the local geography and climatology.

Decisions made without the interpretation of a qualified meteorologist can lead to the inaccurate evaluations of cases or claims resulting in serious implications as a case or claim matures. To avoid this it is always best to consult with a forensic meteorologist to gain the peace of mind that good decisions are made from the beginning to avoid any unwanted surprises down the road.