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National Grid Blames Forecasters For “Underestimating” October Storm

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A National Grid team repairs a broken power line Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. (Photo courtesy: National Grid)

A National Grid team repairs a broken power line Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. (Photo courtesy: National Grid)

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BOSTON (CBS) – One power company feeling the heat after the nor’easter is defending itself, and blaming forecasters insisting they got it wrong.

It’s an argument state leaders and meteorologists say doesn’t hold up.

National Grid executives now say the forecast was “fundamentally missed by meteorologists”, who “really underestimated the moisture” and “missed on the weight of the snow.” The comments were made in a Worcester Telegram & Gazette  article.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports

“Maybe the totals weren’t exactly right, but the gist of the snowstorm was,” says MEMA spokesman Peter Judge. “Heavy wet snow, and expect lot of trees to come down, and that’s what happened.”

But National Grid says it would have been better prepared for the storm and restored power to 420,000 customers quicker had the forecast been more accurate.

Among those agitated with the power company’s finger-pointing is the WBZ Weather Department who began talking about the historic storm that Monday, five days before.

“They’re looking for someone else to blame perhaps, but they’re looking in the wrong place,” says WBZ-TV executive weather producer Terry Eliasen.

With the exception of vastly under-predicting the snowfall in Western Massachusetts, the National Weather Service argues it was also fundamentally right, from midweek on using words like “historic”, “unprecedented”, and “extreme”.

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