Episode #27: Ed Piotrowski: Myrtle Beach's Most Trusted Meteorologist 12/14/2020
Meredith: Welcome to The Gimme Golf Podcast, powered by myrtlebeachgolftrips.com. This is episode number 27. Don't forget to subscribe and rate our podcast. Now, if you live in the Myrtle Beach area, you know him as the area's most trusted meteorologist. If you don't live in the area, but are visiting Myrtle Beach, you definitely want to connect with our very special guest today, chief meteorologist at WPDE, Ed Piotrowski. Ed has spent his entire broadcasting career here in the Carolinas, which spans over 30 years. In his 26 years here in South Carolina, Ed has been nominated for an Emmy named best weather caster in the Carolinas by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas, best weather caster in South Carolina twice, by the South Carolina Associated Press, and once by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. Wow. So many credentials.
And in 2018, he received the John Coleman national award for his coverage before, during and after Hurricane Florence. Additionally, in 2018, he received the prestigious honorary life membership award for the South Carolina Broadcast Association for demonstrating exceptional service to broadcasting in South Carolina. Ed has been named best of the beach, 15 years in a row. And in 2018 was named Myrtle Beach's, citizen of the year. Quite a guest that we have on the show today. So you definitely don't want to miss this podcast. It's going to be very fun and informative. And for you golfers listening, we have a lot of great information that connects weather to golf. So stay tuned. I am here at Pine Lakes Country Club in history hall with Ed Piotrowski. Ed, before we get started on this podcast, there's something I wanted to show you.
Meredith: It is the Ed Piotrowski bobblehead.
Ed: Oh, my gosh. Do you think it looks like me?
Meredith: I'm going to put it next to you, so we can get a little...
Ed: That is too cool. Thank you so much for bringing that in. That makes me smile. It's really cool. [crosstalk 00:02:23] The St. Patrick's Day one.
Nate: I think it looks like you, but when I got the box, the box picture does not look like you.
Nate: But when you take it out, it looks like you.
Ed: It's amazing. When people see the bobblehead, they go, that doesn't look like you at all. Others are like, it's a dead ringer. So you're right. The bobblehead-
Nate: But the box doesn't.
Ed: It looks like somebody else's eyes.
Meredith: It's a little bit like you, but it definitely [crosstalk 00:02:44] looks like you when you take it out.
Ed: In this one?
Meredith: That's pretty amazing.
Ed: Pretty cool. We're doing one every year for five years for charity. So it'll be neat. With all the wacky suits that I wear. So that'll be fun.
Meredith: So that is great. Now with this bobblehead, how much have you raised? I mean, and where does that money go to?
Ed: Well, right now, I'm not a hundred percent sure how much it's raised. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are doing a fun little contest between myself and Adam Dellinger with a Gator 107.9.
Meredith: Oh, so it's a competition?
Ed: Yeah. It's a fun competition.
Meredith: Oh, cool.
Ed: And I know that we've sold several hundred already, but I don't know exactly how many, and the money that I'm raising is going to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation in our area. So we're looking forward to helping some children who otherwise may not get some of the wishes that they have, especially with COVID ongoing.
Nate: I think you've sold a lot, because when I went into the Pelicans box office to pick that up, that's all behind the counter. So there was a bunch of them there [crosstalk 00:03:37]
Meredith: Oh, that's so cool.
Ed: Good to know. [crosstalk 00:03:38]
Meredith: Now do they have other ones, like when you went, then the Shamrock?
Nate: It was just you and Mr. Dellinger.
Ed: Yes, exactly. The one prior to this last year was me in my blue suit. And then the next one we do, we're going to let viewers and followers on social media decide which suit to do the next bobblehead in. So whether it's the goofy June suit that I have or snowflake suit, whatever it may be.
Nate: And the cousin Eddie shoes?
Ed: Yes. I love that.
Nate: Get the cousin Eddy shoes.
Ed: And I've got that entire outfit when he's in his green leisure pants and that Dickie.
Meredith: I love it.
Ed: I've got to wear that and take a picture of that one day.
Meredith: All right. So I want to get started. I have a ton of golf weather related questions, but before we get into that, in reading your bio, which is outstanding. I mean, bravo to you. You've had such an amazing career as a meteorologist.
Ed: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Meredith: But what led you to the field of meteorology?
Ed: As far as I can remember when I was a kid, I loved the weather. I used to live in South, Texas. It never snowed there, but if there was a small chance, I'd run outside and stay up all night long, looking for a snowflake in the light. A lot of kids do that. And I never thought I'd do it on television. But I started interning at a television station in the late eighties, in New Bern, North Carolina, just up the road. And fell in love with just talking about the weather. And I got my first job in 1990. And so January, actually, it was January '91. So January of 2021, will be 30 years in television, if you can believe that.
Ed: I love talking about the weather and I still get paid when I'm wrong. So that's cool too.
Meredith: What's your favorite aspect of meteorology or of weather?
Ed: Winter storms are my favorite. Everybody loves a little snow. Maybe our northern friends don't of course, but people in the South, we don't see it very much. So it's cool to actually get a little bit of snow. I dread hurricanes anymore, because just no longer are they just in and out. They're slow motion disasters a lot of times.
Ed: And they require weeks and weeks of preparation, and so on and so forth. So winter storms are my favorite, because usually if it snows here, it's gone the next day.
Meredith: Right. Yeah. It's fun to see snow here too, when it happens, especially if you get the opportunity to go down to the beach.
Ed: Oh, yeah.
Meredith: It's so beautiful to see snow on a beach.
Nate: Yeah, I don't like it. Being from New England, coming down here to get away from it.
Ed: Makes sense.
Nate: It's like, no, I don't want to see it.
Meredith: I don't mind it.
Ed: No offense.
Meredith: I don't mind it. I grew up in Colorado, moved here as teenager to play golf, but I love the snow. And I actually can tell people that I used to walk to school in a foot of snow. You know how you have [crosstalk 00:06:05] grandparents telling you stories. "When I was your age, I had to walk-
Ed: It's true.
Meredith: "I had to walk two miles in the snow." I literally had to walk two miles in the snow growing up.
Ed: And the snow in Colorado is beautiful. It's that nice, dry, fluffy snow.
Meredith: It is.
Ed: Not like the wet stuff we get around here.
Meredith: Yes, it is beautiful. Greatest learning experience as a meteorologist.
Ed: Oh, gosh. Probably it was a snow storm believe it or not. Some of you may remember about three or four years ago, we were forecasting three to five inches of snow, and here it was snowing heavily in Charleston. And I decided up the totals, I was like, "I think we're going to get four to six inches of snow." And we had a little dry dry pocket that just settled over our area, and we ended up getting some sleet and maybe a half an inch of snow. So that was probably my biggest learning experience in terms of no matter how good it looks in the models, mother nature and the ocean are always going to have the last say as to whether or not we get snow around here. So I've learned to cut totals in half whatever the models are forecasting for snow around here.
Meredith: Well, speaking of mother nature, the Farmers' Almanac. All right. Is that legit? What's the deal with that?
Ed: I don't want to offend anybody, but it really isn't. It's very ambiguous. It's very broad. They'll cover like, this 10 day period in the Southeastern United States in mid-January will be cold with maybe some snow in the mountains. Well, that happens almost every January when you think about it. So I think it's based more on climatology than anything else. A look back at what's happened in the past, and forecasting into the future with that. But what happens is, if they get it right, people remember that.
Nate: Yeah. Yeah.
Ed: But the nine times out of 10 that they don't get it right, nobody remembers that or wants to talk about it.
Ed: So I don't put any stock in the Farmers' Almanac. Don't hold it against me though.
Meredith: That's good to know, because sometimes I see it in the grocery store. I'm like, what is that? I've seen that my entire life growing up, and does that work? And I know some people believe that it does, but anyway.
Meredith: I thought, you know what? We're going to ask Ed Piotrowski when he comes in for the podcast. All right. So I was going to ask you about hurricanes, but you've already told me what that's like, but let me ask you this. Have you ever sat through a really bad hurricane? Like a four-plus without evacuating?
Ed: No, we have not. The closest we've ever come to staying at the beach. My weather office used to be at the Myrtle Beach pavilion, and we stayed there through the early two thousands. And back in 1999, we had Hurricane Floyd coming. It was nearly a cat five sitting over, The Bahamas. So we decided we have to leave the beach. We can't stay here. And we went back to Florence. Of course it weakened. It was a category two by the time it made landfall, but I pretty much do what I tell other people to do, get out of harm's way. And you're really evacuating for the storm surge, not the wind or the rain. It's all about the storm surge, because there's a real threat that the water from the ocean can get to where you are if you're in an evacuation zone.
Nate: So how has that changed, Ed? Because I know back in '98, I was here for Florida and I left. How has forecasting hurricanes changed? It's more of an all day. You have to be on TV all day now.
Ed: It really is. Any more hurricanes, big winter storms. They're all the super bowls of weather, if you will. There's 10 times a year that you really have to show up for people. A lot of people day-to-day are in and out of their home. Maybe not watching a newscast as often as they used to when they were growing up. But when there's a hurricane, people want that context and perspective from their local [crosstalk 00:09:19]
Nate: So instant. I mean, we want to see what's going on right now.
Ed: Exactly. [crosstalk 00:09:22] and that's where social media has been huge too.
Ed: People a lot of times don't want to wait until six o'clock to see the news. They want information now, but with hurricanes, everybody's interested in that. They want to know, especially people that have evacuated. We stream our newscast online and we're on from the time the conditions start going downhill until the conditions have improved, just to keep people informed. And that part for the most part, hasn't changed very much over 20 years, but all the social media aspect and our ability to get live shots from around the entire area has changed. No longer you need a satellite truck. You can do everything over the internet, anywhere in the world now. As long as there's internet connection, you can get HD video back to the television station.
Nate: So the big thing too, is your Facebook lives go crazy during a hurricane. It's like, they're probably more watching Facebook live than they are the broadcast.
Ed: Right. And I actually get a little nervous doing Facebook lives because there's so many people watching and you don't want to mess it up.
Ed: But for me, I've always just taken the tact just to be honest with people. If you don't know what's going to happen, tell people that you don't know, and explain why we don't know now, and when we think we're going to know. And I think that was really huge back when Irma was approaching in 2017, Florence in 2018. I love The Weather Channel and the people at The Weather Channel are phenomenal, but often they broad brush the Carolinas, and it looks like the entire Carolina coast is going to get wiped off the map. So people get freaked out by that, and they'll tune in. And I try to be the voice of reason if that makes, and just say [crosstalk 00:10:47]
Nate: Well, you definitely are, for sure.
Ed: "Hey, let's step back here. Everybody needs to prepare, but we're not ready to pull the trigger on a cat four coming in right now."
Nate: And I think that's why people listen to you and watch you, because you keep people at ease.
Ed: I try.
Nate: And you seem like you're accurate on all your [crosstalk 00:11:04]
Meredith: Yes. It's not real hyped and emotional. I can go on [crosstalk 00:11:10]
Nate: Trying to get viewers.
Meredith: Yeah. If I have a question about the weather or we're having a storm, I don't contact you personally, but what I'll do is I will check your socials and I'm like, okay, all right. If Ed's saying this, all right. We're good. We're fine. We're fine for right now. For right now we're okay. And then I'll just check back, because he is the voice of reason.
Ed: I appreciate that.
Meredith: We're so lucky to have you here in Myrtle Beach.
Ed: Well thanks. How much do I owe you for these compliments? Come on.
Meredith: Okay. So I have a funny question. I'm just so curious about this. Have you ever chased a tornado?
Meredith: Oh, my goodness. Hey, he has.
Ed: I haven't seen one. Well, the only one I saw in real life was the Myrtle Beach tornado from 2001. Remember that?
Nate: The water spout?
Ed: Yeah. That water spout that came ashore. I was located at the Myrtle Beach pavilion at the time. And people had caught, we didn't have the internet back then. So at least nothing significant. And people were calling the weather office. "There's a tornado that came through Restaurant Row." And I'm like, "What are you talking about?" So I went on the back deck and literally saw a water spout come ashore, pass right over the pavilion and then went on air with it. So we had that one live, but I was with a friend of mine in Oklahoma. Of course you have to go to [crosstalk 00:12:12]
Meredith: Oh, wow. You were in Oklahoma.
Ed: Yes. So we we're going to a conference. And we ended up chasing a squall line for 800 miles over the course of 15 hours. Never saw a tornado, but saw some incredible cloud cover. And I've got pictures floating out there somewhere doing dumb things during a thunderstorm. I'll be the guy that gets struck by lightning in a thunderstorm, the meteorologist. So, but that's been the coolest thing is chasing out there.
Meredith: That is neat. So what's been the most dangerous situation that you've been in?
Ed: Me personally, probably that tornado, because that tornado came right over the Myrtle Beach pavilion. So I did what I tell kids to do. I said, I went into the bathroom, I stayed there until I heard the tornado had passed. Then I went back out and saw that it had really developed after that, from just what looked like a swirl coming over the pavilion to, an F2 tornado at that point in time with 150 mile per hour winds block South of us.
Ed: So back then we didn't have the great cameras on cell phones or anything like that either. So all the video we got was from people that had their camcorders in town on vacation. So, but that was probably the scariest thing. I didn't fear for my life, but I knew I had to take cover because of glass windows in my office. So that's the closest I've ever come to being scared of weather. I was a little nervous with hurricane Florence, because it was nearly a cat four forecast to come ashore as a four. But three days out, a lot of times things change a lot. So you've got to pay attention, but don't panic. And thankfully it weakened considerably before it got here, despite the fact that it produced a lot of rain.
Meredith: Right. All right. Moving onto some golf questions. I'm really excited about these.
Nate: It may be a sore subject with your shoulder.
Meredith: I know.
Ed: Oh, my gosh. I'll blame everything but my actual ability to play golf, I'm just terrible.
Meredith: Well, my first question, you do play golf because we were just talking about that prior to recording.
Meredith: So what's it like playing golf in the golf capital of the world?
Ed: I absolutely love it. There's literally a hundred choices and every course is different, and you get so many different looks from all the different golf courses around here. I love the beauty of the golf courses just as much as I love playing them, even though I'm terrible. So if I shoot a hundred, at least I had a great experience out of the course [crosstalk 00:14:23]
Ed: With wildlife, the waterways and natural rivers and so on and so forth. I mean, I just love it. And the great thing about it too, is even in the middle of summertime around here, we always get a sea breeze along the grand strand. So while it can be baking inland 95 to 100 degrees, we've got a nice sea breeze in 80s. It's humid, but it still feels good.
Meredith: Yeah. I love afternoon golf in the summertime.
Meredith: It's the best.
Ed: For that reason alone.
Ed: That sea breeze is huge.
Meredith: So who would be your ideal foursome?
Ed: Oh, my gosh. Does this include celebrities too or locally?
Meredith: Yeah, let me specify. So this could include anyone living or that are deceased.
Ed: Okay. I would go with Jack Nicholas for sure, who wouldn't want to play with him. I would take Meredith.
Ed: Because she's phenomenal and she can hit up closer, and probably I'll drive all of us by 150 [crosstalk 00:15:15]
Meredith: See, all you guys use me for that. Hey, Meredith, [crosstalk 00:15:19] scramble. Come on. I tee off in the ladies tees.
Ed: Trust me, you'd still be our A player, even if you played all the way back at the pro tees. So those two, gosh. I mean, who wouldn't want to play around a golf with Tiger Woods, right? Be cool just to see that. And we'll complete the foursome with Nate since he's been cool to us all these years.
Meredith: Aw. That would be a lot of fun. [crosstalk 00:15:40]
Nate: You'd play with me once, and that would be it. It's like, no.
Ed: Oh, I don't know about that.
Nate: Sorry about that.
Meredith: If there is one thing that you could fix about your golf game, what would it be?
Ed: I would say my short game. When you get inside of a hundred yards, I'll pull out the pitching wedge or whatever it may be. And unfortunately, I end up looking before I hit the ball a lot of times and just spray it everywhere. Sometimes I'm a hundred yards out, after I hit that pitching wedge, I'm still a hundred yards out, which is never fun. And when you drive the ball, if I can get into a groove, I feel like I drive it okay. I'd like to improve my distance. I mean, if I hit 200 yards, I'd be happy, but I don't know what I do with my driver that I can't hit 200 yards a lot of times, but.
Meredith: Well, you know what? We need to do a Facebook live one day where I can give Ed a lesson, just a 10 minute lesson.
Ed: I would totally love that.
Meredith: We can cover driver and we can cover some pitching wedge. It could just be just a few little tweaks that could change everything.
Meredith: I think a lot of people have this mindset, "I have to rebuild my swing and it's going to take so many lessons, and it's such a commitment."
Meredith: But it's not always the case.
Meredith: There's oftentimes, I'll have people mention things like that, like in their swing, they'd like to correct, like you mentioned. Sometimes it's literally 20 minutes. Let's change this fundamental. [inaudible 00:16:57] Let's tweak this a little bit here and that's it.
Ed: See, that's cool.
Meredith: Yeah. We should-
Ed: I would think that you'd have to go through an entire restructuring of your swings.
Meredith: Not always.
Meredith: No, I mean, if you're Charles Barkley, now that might be an example.
Ed: I feel pretty good about myself when you see him play.
Meredith: All right. What's your ideal forecast? So being a meteorologist, what's the type of weather that you like to play in? I know everybody likes something different.
Ed: I like sunny and 60s, maybe even 70. That's perfect for me with low humidity. Although I know from a meteorological perspective and I'll nerd out here for a second, the ball goes farther in a higher humidity because of the molecular weight of water, but anyway.
Meredith: Oh, my gosh. That just sounds so fancy. Hold on. I am a blonde. Let's slow this down a little bit. Molecular, okay. I got it.
Ed: Here we go. It's funny. A lot of people think that the ball goes further on a dry day, you would think, because humidity feels heavy to us. The air is actually lighter when the humidity is high, so the ball goes farther.
Ed: So that's pretty cool.
Nate: I'm sorry, Mer. I've got a question about people, I've wanted to get this out. As an industry, being in the industry side, which I did most of my life. People coming down on vacation, looking at the forecast.
Nate: And they look at it a month in advance and say, "I have to cancel my tee time because it's going to rain." Can you just tell them exactly when to look at the forecast?
Ed: To be very frank, anything beyond five to seven days is going to change considerably. And I know a lot of apps out there go out 10, 15 days or what have you, but the bottom line is those apps are fed by single computer models, computer models that change every six hours. So on one model, you may have snow being forecast 10 days from right now. And then six hours later, it's saying sunny and 75. That's how much they can actually change. The beauty of an actual human doing the forecast out to 10 days, as we know the nuances of the models, and we can adjust accordingly.
We never put anything higher than 30% in our forecast beyond seven days, because we know it can change a lot. So what I like to call apps, we call them crap apps, because they're very crappy when you get beyond seven days. So I always encourage people to check out, and I'll plug our station, the WPDE Weather app is put in by human beings. The data's entered in that way and listen, feel free to email me at edatwpde.com. I'll be happy to answer your question about the forecast. We get a lot of people asking that who are coming on vacation. Should I cancel? I go, "No, don't cancel at all."
Ed: You don't need to cancel anything seven to 10 days out, even if there was a hurricane forecast to come here because you don't [crosstalk 00:19:30]
Nate: So Myrtle Beach weather changes so quickly too.
Nate: Because the ocean, people don't realize that.
Ed: We very rarely have a completely rainy day here.
Nate: Exactly. Yeah.
Ed: If you have a hurricane, which is overall pretty rare when you think about it, we might get an all day rain event. In the winter time, maybe one or two days out of the entire 90 day, winter period do we get a completely wet day or is it too cold to play now? For me, if it's in the 30s and 40s, that's too cold for me, but people have North, that's probably balmy for them. [crosstalk 00:19:57]
Meredith: Yeah. I mean, some of them are out in the ocean.
Ed: Right. Yeah.
Meredith: Oh, speaking of that, I have seen you do that winter... What is it called?
Ed: The winter?
Meredith: Where you go swimming in the ocean.
Nate: Oh, the Plunge?
Ed: Oh, the Polar Plunge. Yes.
Meredith: You've done that before, right?
Ed: Yes. It's for Special Olympics. And so we do that in February, usually late January, early February. And I'm always rooting for a warm winter for that reason, because when you first get in it, it'll take your breath away.
Ed: When it's in the 50s. But there are times where the water temperatures are in the 40s here. So that is a shock to the system for sure. And they tell you not to dive in, because the natural reaction is to when you dive into the water and they don't want you to drown yourself by pulling in a bunch of water.
Meredith: Oh, that makes sense. So you have to gradually torture yourself?
Ed: Yeah. Exactly. That's the worst part.
Meredith: All right. Getting back to the science, because I have another question. What's the difference between humidity and dewpoint?
Ed: That's a great question, and humidity is probably the most confusing thing that people hear about in typical newscast. Like this morning, it didn't feel humid outside, but the humidity was 100% at daybreak this morning. That's why we had this heavy frost this morning. So the temperature comes down at night. The dewpoint goes up. And when they meet you get condensation, which of course forums dew or frost. So almost every morning you're going to have, unless it's a really dry air mass, your humidity is going to be highest in the morning, around a 100%. And then as the day goes along, the temperature goes up, but the dewpoint doesn't change much. So you have more capacity for the air to hold water, so the humidity actually goes down.
And there are times in the middle of summertime when it's 100 degrees with the heat index where the humidity may be at 38%, which is incredibly deceiving. Because 100% in the morning at 75 degrees feels a lot better than 100 degrees and 38% humidity. If that makes sense. What I like about dewpoint is it's an absolute measure of moisture in the air. I only look at that number and know how comfortable it will be outside. Anything below 70 starts to feel more comfortable. Around here, if the dew point is 70 or higher, it starts to feel pretty darn muggy, even oppressive, 75 and higher. I've seen Dew points up near 80 after its rained, which just feels like you're wearing the air at that point.
Meredith: Yeah. And a very bad hair day, very bad hair day.
Ed: Yes. You know what? As a guy in television, I feel for you. I get it. But yeah, the dew point is the best way to look to how comfortable you're going to be. We have a comfort meter, a muggy meter, if you will. And once it's below 60, it feels pretty good.
Ed: The air feels a lot drier. And this time of the year, it's very rare that you get dew points into the 60s unless we have a strong storm system coming in.
Meredith: So that's good to know, because growing up, I was always looking just at humidity and I [crosstalk 00:22:35] just now noticed there's this thing called dew point. What is that? And that somehow is a big player in this.
Meredith: So you explained it really well.
Ed: Yeah. Just know that the humidity is going to change drastically throughout the day, but the dew point is pretty consistent unless you have a cold front coming in, then it'll drop off. So I think the dew point today is probably in the 20s or 30. So doesn't even feel a tad bit humid, even though it was a 100% humidity this morning.
Ed: At 28 degrees, the box is this big for water. At 90 degrees, it's this big. [crosstalk 00:23:02] So we have a lot more water.
Meredith: That's so cool. That's so interesting. All right. So if I'm playing golf in Colorado and I'm getting 245 yards total distance with my driver, then I fly back to Myrtle Beach and I play around here, and my total distance is 220.
Meredith: What just happened, Ed? What just happened?
Ed: You have more air pressure at this altitude than you do in the mountains of Colorado. I'm assuming you're in the mountains.
Meredith: Yes, in the mountains.
Ed: So when you're in the mountains, say 5,000 feet, there's much less air above you. So there's less pressure weighing down on you. So the ball's going to go farther in higher altitudes compared to what we get around here.
Meredith: And that's not in relation to humidity?
Ed: No. We'll assume the humidity is the same at that altitude in say Denver, compared to Myrtle Beach.
Ed: The ball's always going to go farther because you have literally less air weighing on you in the higher mountains.
Meredith: You're just making things so clear in my life right now. I was so excited about this [crosstalk 00:24:04]
Ed: It's not you. It's the altitude.
Meredith: There we go.
Nate: I just tell people, "Your at sea level."
Meredith: You're at sea level.
Nate: I didn't know what that meant, but... Yeah.
Ed: Which is true though.
Nate: Just tell you that.
Meredith: Okay. So when you go on vacation, which I'm assuming you do, I hope you do.
Meredith: Because you deserve vacations as much as you are on air and on social media, you've got to have a break. Wherever you go, do you actually look at the weather forecast? I mean, do you have special connections? How does this work for Ed when he goes on vacation?
Ed: For me, I mean, I do the research. I don't know exactly what the normals are for different cities around the country. I haven't gotten out of the country very often at all. But when I travel, we go to conferences each year and usually in a different city, a big city.
Nate: Don't tell me conferences are your vacations.
Ed: Sometimes they are, because what I try to do is I build four or five days ahead of a conference [crosstalk 00:24:52]
Nate: That makes me feel better.
Ed: To go explore the city or what have you. So, I'm like, "In June, in Seattle, what's the weather really like?" It doesn't rain as much in Seattle, as people say. It's cloudy a lot. So I'll do a lot of research there. I also can look at the forecast models for those areas and determine what kind of weather is coming in or what have you. And I try to plan. If it's not a conference related vacation, I try to plan those vacations around when they do have good times. For instance, if you ever want to go to the Caribbean, never go in October or November because it typically pours in Jamaica and Cuba and all those places. But the winter is great down there.
Nate: And you're not out of hurricane season yet in October either.
Ed: No, not in [crosstalk 00:25:28] October. You saw here in November with this hurricane season, we had a lot of hurricanes in the Western Caribbean sea. So that's the hotspot in October, November is the Caribbean.
Meredith: Yeah. It was.
Ed: We're pretty safe by then usually.
Meredith: Right? It was so active this year.
Nate: I was.
Ed: Oh, my gosh.
Meredith: Just so active.
Ed: Busiest season on record.
Nate: So I think I've told you this before Meredith, but Ed, would he come play golf at River Club. And I'd always tell the guys in the shop, "Now, don't ask him about the weather." [crosstalk 00:25:51] He's relaxing, he's out. Okay. Okay. And this is a Testament of how much he loves what he does. He comes in, starts telling them the forecast. And they look at me, I said, "Okay, you can ask him about [crosstalk 00:26:04]
Ed: I love it.
Nate: So that's a Testament to you [crosstalk 00:26:07]
Ed: I appreciate that.
Nate: Of how much you like your job. [crosstalk 00:26:09] I think that comes through on your social channels and obviously on your broadcast.
Ed: I appreciate that. In the end I look at it like really everybody who watches or follows, are my employers. Without them, I don't have a job, and I just really enjoy talking about the weather. So I encourage people to come up and say, hello. Ask me about the weather. I'm happy to answer that question. I mean, you don't want to be that guy in the grocery store who thinks he's a big celebrity, and doesn't want to talk to anybody. That's more of a big turnoff [crosstalk 00:26:38]
Nate: Well, I didn't tell them not to talk to you.
Nate: I said, but don't ask him about the weather. He does it all day long, but then he comes and he wants to talk about it.
Ed: Yeah. It doesn't bother me.
Meredith: Well, definitely God has given you the gift of weather.
Ed: I appreciate that. Very humbling business too, I'll tell you that.
Nate: Yeah, I'm sure.
Ed: Because you can think you get it right all the time until you blow one, and then people remember that.
Meredith: What does the future hold in weather forecasting 25 years from now?
Ed: 25 years from now, I think we'll be able to go out 10 to 15 days with more accuracy, but we simply can't model the world's atmosphere perfectly. And what I mean by that is, every day we send up weather balloons around the world twice a day. And that's a snapshot of what's happening globally with the weather, but we're missing a lot of the pieces of the puzzle, if you will. You get 2% of the entire atmosphere of sampled, and you're putting that data into a computer, there's inherently going to be some errors to that. And those areas may be small tomorrow, but they grow to be huge when you get beyond seven to 10 days. So I think the sampling of the atmosphere will improve with various new projects that are out there right now. And we might be able to be more accurate 10 to 15 days, but we will never have accurate forecast out beyond 15 days. It's just impossible.
Meredith: Yeah. It is-
Ed: So remember that when you look at your crap app.
Meredith: The crap app. I love that. Weather really is humbling.
Ed: It is. [crosstalk 00:27:57]
Meredith: It really is.
Nate: I'm deleting all my apps. [crosstalk 00:27:59]
Ed: Except for the WPDE. [crosstalk 00:28:01]
Meredith: And actually what we'll do for our listeners listening right now, we'll make sure to put those links in with this podcast so they can head over there and check the weather before they come here to play golf.
Ed: Very cool.
Meredith: What are your favorite courses? We're going to end on this one right here.
Ed: Oh, my gosh.
Meredith: So maybe three. If you were creating the ideal golf package coming to Myrtle Beach, what three courses would you choose and why?
Ed: My gosh. Let's see, I love Caledonia because it's absolutely beautiful. They all are really, this is splitting hairs here. It's like winning a NASCAR race. You win by two hundreds of a second. Somebody's got to finish second. I love Caledonia. I love Grande Dunes because it's wide open. That's always been a favorite of mine. Gosh, what else is out there? Pawleys Plantation is great. I love, I think it's the back nine. It has the...
Meredith: The Marshals.
Ed: Yeah, the Marshals, and so on and so forth. There's just a lot of real, pretty courses around here. And I live out in Carolina Forest. So I used to like to play The Wizard a lot, but that's been torn down. Right?
Nate: Nope, Wizard is still there.
Meredith: No, it's still there. [crosstalk 00:29:03]
Ed: Why am I think... Oh, it was the one in 544, not Wicked Stick. That's gone too.
Nate: Yeah, that's gone.
Ed: But what was the one in 544? It's still there actually.
Nate: They still have The Witch, yup.
Ed: My gosh.
Meredith: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:29:13] that ones been out there forever.
Ed: Now you can see how long it's been since I played. But yeah, they're all fantastic. I mean, True Blue is another great one. That's not an easy course at all.
Ed: I just love them all really.
Meredith: Okay. Well next time that you're down at True Blue or Caledonia, you have to check out the scooters. So our second oldest son, Solomon and I, he's a phenomenal golfer. And we went out there and rode the scooters. They are so much fun. And they have the golf boards, the ones that you can stand on.
Meredith: Well, they have these scooters now, it's like riding a little motorcycle. And you're basically straddling your golf bag.
Ed: Oh, wow.
Meredith: It's so much fun. We had the best time. In fact, it was probably my most fun... Is that correct grammar?
Ed: Yeah, unfortunately. I'm no wordsmith.
Meredith: It was the best round that I've had all year, because truly, we just had so much fun. And you know, studies have shown that when you have fun on the golf course, you'll play your best rounds.
Ed: That's cool.
Meredith: So there's something to that. So you've got to try the scooter.
Ed: Okay. I've got to remember that.
Meredith: And you might find that just the scooter will fix your driver and pitching wedge.
Meredith: Because you're going to have so much fun doing it.
Ed: Well, I think you nailed it too, that you got to go out and have fun. There's nothing worse for me then, like I play in a lot of tournaments, to play with stuffy people who just care about winning. I'm like, "Listen, you got me on the team. Chances are, you're not winning. So let's just have fun and enjoy it."
Ed: And you remember Rich Chrampanis, our old sports director.
Ed: We do golf tournaments for scholarships. And our goal was just to have fun, make sure that everybody had fun eating on different holes and all that, because one team wins. Everybody else lose... Doesn't lose, but you want the experience to be great.
Ed: So that's what I love about it.
Meredith: Yeah. You definitely got to have a good attitude going out and playing golf. And I always tell people, golf courses are somewhat like state parks in many ways.
Meredith: You get all the beauty that you would get at a state park, it's preserved within the course.
Ed: Oh, yeah. Very well manicured.
Meredith: And I mean, you get to see so much when you play golf. And I'm like you, I really like the South end in golf, like Pawleys Plantation.
Meredith: That low country feel.
Meredith: The moss draped oaks, and just that. Even the breeze is very salty.
Ed: Right. Exactly.
Meredith: It's like, you can smell the salt, but thanks so much for coming on this podcast.
Ed: Thank you guys so much for having me. It was a lot of fun, and I hope that people will remember [email protected] If you ever have a question about weather, don't cancel your plans until you've talked to me.
Nate: And he will answer you.
Ed: I promise you I will.
Nate: He will.
Meredith: Yeah. Ed, you are the best. So we appreciate you.
Ed: Thank you guys.
Meredith: And we hope that this next year is going to be no hurricanes in our area.
Ed: Sure would be nice.
Meredith: So we're just going to pray and keep our fingers crossed on that one.
Ed: Amen to that.
Meredith: But you do a great job. Thanks so much.
Ed: Thank you, guys.
Nate: Thank you.
If you live along the Grand Strand you know him as the area’s most trusted meteorologist, if you don’t live in the area, but are visiting especially for a golf vacation, you definitely need to connect with WPDE’s Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski. Ed has spent his entire broadcasting career in the Carolinas. Myrtle Beach Golf Ambassador and LPGA Instructor Meredith Kirk sat down with the 30 year weather professional.
(Follow Ed’s social accounts below as he is very active posting the latest weather conditions and forecasts)
Show Notes (Time stamped for quick reference)
Start to 1:51 Intro
2:11 BobbleHead Surprise-Make a Wish Fund Raiser with Myrtle Beach Pelicans
4:28 What made Ed get into meteorology, favorite things about covering weather
6:23 Ed’s greatest learning experience as a meteorologist
7:03 Thoughts on the Farmer’s Almanac
8:08 Ever ridden out a bad hurricane?
8:48 How hurricane coverage changed over the years, impact of social media
11:36 Chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma
12:40 Most dangerous weather situation encountered
14:06 Playing golf in the Golf Capital of the World
14:50 Ed’s ideal foursome
15:49 Part of Ed’s game that needs help
17:23 The ideal golf forecast
18:00 When should golfers look at the forecast? Why apps aren’t the most reliable source
20:09 Participation in the polar plunge
20:49 Difference between humidity and dew point
23:13 Why don’t I hit the ball as far in Myrtle Beach as I do at home?
24:25 Does Ed follow the weather when he’s on vacation?
25:45 An example of how much Ed loves his job
27:00 What does the future hold for weather forecasting?
28:24 Ed’s favorite Myrtle Beach golf courses
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Local meteorologist Ed Piotrowski took some time with us to clear up some misconceptions, but also offer some advice for golf...Read more