John Bolaris Fired Someone Over Sunday’s Ice Storm

Plus: He explains why the region's meteorologists share the blame for the chaos.

[UPDATE, 9 p.m., 1/21] Harry Holmes, who says he’s the man John Bolaris claims to have “fired,” has responded.

[ORIGINAL] John Bolaris always gives good conversation. So we thought we’d call the longtime meteorologist up to have one about Sunday’s deadly ice storm. True to form, Bolaris, now at, had plenty to say.

What the heck happened on Sunday?
I really do blame it on the overall meteorologists on this one. At the beginning of last week, Sunday looked like a very mild 50-degree day.

But then the computer model started changing on Wednesday. And yet on Friday, the day when I wrote that Sunday was going to be colder than expected — I said there could be a cold rain — the local news stations were still calling for this mild weather. I was taken aback.

And then, what I feel horrible about, this flash freeze that took place in the city wasn’t in any forecast. But it was a concern and should have been addressed much more during the week.

Meteorologically speaking, what led to this?

Well, the rain came in earlier that was predicted. Before 7. And the ground — the thing that really made a big different was that the ground surfaces were at 32 or below. When the liquid hits the pavement, it supercools rapidly and forms a thin coat of ice. It just looks like rain. But it’s a hidden danger.

Was able to warn people on Sunday?
I should’ve been there at 4 a.m. putting out some kind of warning. I have another meteorologist who is supposed to take care of the morning blast, and I thought he’d take care of it. He didn’t, and I actually fired him. He phoned it in. He did it the night before instead of actually looking at the data at 5 a.m. It’s unforgivable. I’ve worked with him for 23 years.

If you know it’s going to be a sunny day, OK. But we had severe weather pending. Bullshit. Get your ass up. Laziness is no excuse.

I did send out a blast at 7:30 warning people, but that’s playing catch up. It’s too late.

But, John, if the local stations knew there was a possibility of severe weather on Sunday, why wouldn’t they blow that story up for days, Icemageddon-style?
I can tell you the reasons: A) It’s not a ratings period. B) It’s a Sunday morning. Even if they’re going to tease it some, it’s not going to be a big tease. That’s the mentality.

They’re not smart enough to look at it and see what might be going on. And freezing rain is not sexy like snow. You have snow coming, it’s SNOW!!! That’s just the way it works.

Anyone worth their weight would have put some things together. Hmm. 30s at night. 20s and teens. Rain. Just a heads up. Hey, maybe if it gets in early enough, there could be some freezing rain. That tone should have been there instead of telling people about a mild Sunday with some rain.

But it’s the weather. There’s always an unpredictable element, right?
Sure. It’s not purely the meteorologists’ fault. In weather, there is always a surprise. But there should still have been a more concerned tone.

The ultimate result was that three people were killed. People who can no longer go home to their families. Who’s to say if they had that message that they wouldn’t have gone out that morning? But on my end, there’s a responsibility to inform people, instead of this nonsense about a mild Sunday. I swear to God, I was still hearing this on Friday.

It failed miserably as a service, failed miserably the families on the roadways. There’s no accountability and so much irresponsibility when it comes to forecasting. They just go through the motions. They’re not even looking at layers of the atmosphere. They’re not looking at storm extractions. Do they even know what a storm extraction is? Well, maybe Hurricane does.

They’re getting their weather from wherever. They’re certainly not analyzing computer models, computer equations. That’s fine on a nice sunny day. Anybody can do the weather, Victor, on a nice sunny day. The only time you really need a weather person is when a storm is approaching.

This was a complete failure. I feel strongly about it.

So what of this snowfall that’s coming on Wednesday?
The model has shifted more to the south. It’s just a thin band of snow, maybe an inch or two, depending on where you are. But it could mean very slick roadways during the evening commute.

Do my kids still have a chance at a snow day?
Oh, yes. They do have a chance. Winter is really just starting now. We’re going to get into a series of cold blasts and potential for significant snowfall. Just check I only do bad weather on there. Nobody needs good weather.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.