Thursday, November 23, 2017

‘Everybody talks about the weather’

Weatherman Darren Miller on climate change, extreme weather and the real reason people watch local TV.

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

DARREN MILLER

A native of Orange County in Southern California, Darren Miller can be seen nightly giving weather reports on Las Vegas’ CBS affiliate, Channel 8. The city’s very mild winter has raised a number of questions about climate change and extreme weather conditions across the United States, so we asked the American Meteorological Society-certified weatherman to shed some light on issues that seem to be everyone’s minds.

How do you explain the extreme weather that has taken place around the country?

Different people can sometimes give you various answers to that question, but for me it is all about climate change. The climate is changing, and it is getting warmer — which results in different weather patterns. It’s warm for several months and some cities get colder air. The ongoing argument is, “Is the climate warming?” I think it is, and it is creating havoc. I think the unpredictable weather is something we will have to deal with in years to come.

What is the reasoning for the warmer weather here in Las Vegas and extreme cold in the East and parts of the South?

The warm climate leads to changes in the jet stream — and the jet stream is critical and it has been meandering, which allows for a huge onslaught of cold air to rush into the Midwest. Las Vegas has had a jet stream that has created a ridge, that is why it has been warmer weather. The opposite is true for the East Coast and the North — jet streams create a trough. The jet stream has been so far north;  that is why Las Vegas has missed many of the winter storms. Storms ride alongside the jet streams, and they have been way to the north headed to Seattle and Portland, riding up and over Las Vegas. If the jet streams would have been farther south, we would have gotten storms. As it pertains to the East Coast and parts of the South, the jet stream is in a trough and the cold air has been rushing into the areas. The meandering of the jet stream has caused the extreme weather that we are seeing.

Do you think Las Vegas is going to have an early summer this year?

Well, spring is now less than a month away. We had a very mild winter. With 62 days into it in Las Vegas, only 10 of those days have been cooler than normal. So, out of the 62 days, 52 of them have been warmer than normal — which is odd, and normally doesn’t happen. Las Vegas has had the warmest January on record this winter.

What makes you so people-friendly and fun to watch on television?

I think it is because I like what I do. I feel fortunate to be doing what I do, and having the personality to deliver the important weather forecast. No matter where you are, the weather is very important. Some people say to me, from other parts of the country, that I have it easy reporting the weather in Las Vegas because we don’t have extreme weather conditions — which is not necessarily true. People in Las Vegas still want to know what’s happening with daily weather … and what is happening with wind conditions as it relates to allergies and pollen in the air. Or whether it going to be hot or cold outside. Weather is the No. 1 reason why people watch local television. Everybody talks about the weather.

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