Mistaken weather reports ruin vacations and business deals

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Mistaken weather reports ruin vacations and business deals

Erroneous weather reports during the monsoon season pitched many vacation planners into distress, with some losing not only their vacation but also business deals worth some tens of millions of won.

Jeong Jong-guk, a 45-year-old blueberry farmer, had scheduled his family vacation trip on July 23 because the state weather forecaster said it would rain in the southern regions of Korea that day.

As a farmer, Jeong would only be able to take time off for a day if the sky would take care of watering his plants for him.

Then the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) changed its forecast on July 22, saying it would not rain in the southern regions, after all. The news evaporated Jeong and his family’s long-awaited vacation.

“The weather forecast this monsoon season has been particularly inaccurate,” Jeong said. “If the forecasts change abruptly in a day, it creates a lot of problems for us farmers who rely so much on the weather.”

Kim Woo-hyun, a 24-year-old college student, had to delay his reservation with a rental car company for his road trip twice already because of inaccurate weather forecasts. He had first reserved a car on July 12, but delayed it a day when the KMA said it would rain on the 12th.

It turned out he didn’t have to delay his reservation at all, because the 12th turned out to be completely sunny, while it rained on the 13th.

Weekend weather forecasting is especially important for many who cannot afford to take off work during the week.

Bae Sung-han, a 29-year-old office worker, was looking forward to enjoying a soccer game with his friends from high school on July 24. But when the KMA said it would rain that day, he cancelled the gathering.

It turned out to be sunny.

“I had got about 10 alums and even scheduled a match with another group of people, but cancelled all that after hearing that the weather forecast said it would rain,” he said. “Instead of enjoying my free time outside with friends, I sat at home watching TV.”

Sometimes the weather forecasts ruins more than just vacation plans.

After hearing that it would rain on July 23 and 24, the Seodaemun District Office rescheduled its waterslide event Sinchon Wake Up City Festa 2016. The organizing company, Haera, refunded its 20,000 won ($17.60) tickets for some 500 people who had reserved in advance. The company paid performance group fees for delaying their concerts and performances.

It rained a total of 1 millimeter (0.03 inches) in Seoul that weekend.

“How can the weather forecast not get it right three days before the day?” said Jung Chan-oh, a director of the company. “We had to incur some 30 to 40 million won in delaying the event.”

Ocean World, a water park run by the Daemyung Resort in Gangwon, received 129 online reservations on the 12th after the weather forecast predicted it would rain on July 12. Some 30 reservations were cancelled the day before.

The waterpark receives some 200 reservations on any given sunny day.

Because of its frequent errors, some people choose to refer to additional sources than just the state weather forecaster in planning their schedules.

“I check four different weather forecasting agencies before I make a decision,” said Han Tae-kyung, a 27-year-old office worker. “It’s so much more reliable than trusting the KMA alone.”

The KMA was correct 52.3 percent of the time in 2012, and since then, its accuracy has remained below 50 percent.

BY PARK MIN-JE, CHAE SEUNG-GI [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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