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Blizzard 2015: Meteorologist apologizes for "big forecast miss"

While a large blizzard is still pounding parts of New England, it wasn't as powerful as expected in New York City, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, prompting a meteorologist from the National Weather Service to issue an apology
Why winter storm didn't pack as much punch as forecasters thought 05:45

Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the New York City area shut down Monday evening after predictions of an epic blizzard drifted in from forecasters.

NYC streets, subways closed as millions hunker down 02:41

"We are facing most likely one of the largest snow storms in the history of this city," said New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio at a press conference on Sunday morning, echoing the words of National Weather Service forecasters at the time. "Don't underestimate this storm."

The National Weather Service over the weekend had issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.

However, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, it became apparent that the dire warnings were wrong in many places. Although parts of Long Island and New England were experiencing heavy snow and strong gusts, overall, things were not as bad as originally feared.

As a result, an unusual mea culpa was issued by meteorologist Gary Szatkowski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, N.J.

"My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public," he said via Twitter early Tuesday morning.

In a press conference Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended officials' reaction to the dire predictions of forecasters, citing the massive snowstorm in Buffalo in November that was not predicted to be bad. The severity caught nearly everyone by surprise.

National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss 01:42

Cuomo also said it is always better to overreact to severe weather, in part because it improves readiness.

Szatkowski might be a familiar name to some in the Tri-State area. He was described as one of the "heroes" of Superstorm Sandy for getting predictions about that storm's severity right, and for broadcasting them loudly. reports that Szatkowski "issued some of the strongest warnings that anyone in the weather community had seen from a meteorologist in his position. He went from warning people about the potential dangers of the storm on that Tuesday to practically begging them to evacuate five days later in what he titled a 'Personal Plea' in his briefing packet."

On social media, there was a lot of support for Szatkowski after the apology.

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