In 1992 at age 37, Bastardi married Jessica Jane Strunk, age 26, also a Penn State graduate. They have a son Garrett (born 1996) and a daughter Jessica (born 1998). In his free time, Bastardi enjoys bodybuilding, and has won the NABBA American Bodybuilding Championships
Bastardi produces several weather analysis videos most weekdays and some weekend days including "Bastardi's Big Dog", "Long Ranger", and "Point-Counterpoint". His Long Ranger video features his thoughts on long-range trends, while the Point-Counterpoint video features an "argument" between himself and another AccuWeather meteorologist, such as Ken Reeves. Bastardi rarely touches upon short-range topics in these videos, even ignoring an impending storm in favor of the next one that may still be several days off. In addition to his videos, Bastardi contributes to official Accuweather press releases, such as annual winter forecasts. He also serves corporate clients such as oil companies, who depend on the weather for their revenue streams
Bastardi writes a column that generally summarizes his views in the videos. Bastardi sometimes contributes columns several times a day when a storm is approaching. He maintains that he hasn't taken a day off since 2002, including "Christmas and Easter"
The disagreement between these two styles has caused conflicts and criticism.
Some agree with Bastardi's criticism of the NWS, arguing that historical records of forecasts provide enough evidence of private weather forecasters' accuracy. A study by ForecastWatch.com, a company that provides services to AccuWeather, found that NWS forecasts had a 21% greater overall error rate than a selection of private forecasts. The same study also determined that the NWS's forecasts for snow accumulations had an even higher error rate of 45%.
Bastardi's hurricane season forecasts have proven to be very accurate in many cases. In 2007, Bastardi predicted that there would be 15-17 named storms, and there were actually 14 named storms. He also predicted 3 major hurricanes of Safir-Simpson category 3 or greater, and two occurred during that year
On the other hand, some criticize Bastardi for what they see as a tendency for his "over-hyping" of forecasts, arguing that blatantly wrong forecasts cost money and even lives. In one case, Bastardi mispredicted where Hurricane Rita would make landfall. His forecast stated: "NO CHANGES ON TRACK. LANDFALL NEAR GLS, THEN SLOW MOVE UP I-45 CORRIDOR. STORM TRAP SET AND BACKING SOUTHWESTWARD TOWARD MEXICO TO FOLLOW. ANOTHER POST LATER, BUT MAJOR DISASTER SCENARIO MAY COME TO PASS...EVEN BEYOND THE OBVIOUS OF 930-950 MB HURRICANE HIT." The Houston Chronicle later commented on Bastardi's "no-probabilities" method of forecasting in regard to Rita, designating him "worst weather forecaster:"
Bastardi responds to these comments by arguing that extreme events do occur and that they need to be predicted correctly when they happen. According to Bastardi, "My main course of business is not to get attention, it is to be right."
Bastardi is skeptical about the significance or the severity of human-induced global warming. Joe frequently argues in his columns that extreme weather events occur occasionally and that there is not enough evidence to state that such events are unusual. For example, in regards to the effect of climate change on hurricanes, Bastardi stated:
Bastardi publishes his forecasts in "zones," and later reports "scorecards" of each zone. He maintains that he attempts to evaluate his accuracy as completely as possible. Since much of his forecasting is for long-term weather events, Bastardi frequently publishes his scorecards at the end of the seasons or after a major event, such as a hurricane landfall, has occurred.