Snow On The Way

I think there’s a difference between how people feel about snow early in the season and late in the season. Early on there’s the anticipation of the beauty and solitude snows brings. Even someone like me, not inclined to enjoy snow or anything cold, likes the way it looks.

As the season goes on, the love affair cools. Maybe you’re driving when, for an instant, you feel your tires not quite gripping… or you see someone fishtail coming around a corner, or a particularly heavy snow ends and a wet discoloration comes to your ceiling or wall, or there’s just the feeling of cabin fever when snow’s got you locked in place when you want to go out.

Depressing, isn’t it?

We’ve reached that second, more mature part of the season, Whereas in December people are almost begging for snow, now they are fearing it.

Tomorrow, we get our next touch. It’s a storm that can trace its roots back to California. Tonight it’s a rain storm, well to the south of us. In 15-16 hours, it will be ours and it will be snow.

This season, I have noticed a tendency for the numeric weather prediction models to overestimate the snow. I am taking a chance, tempering my call in light of that ‘education under fire.’ Of course the models don’t know they were wrong and are still solidly based on physics. Am I modifying based on the computer’s bad luck or a weakness on the forecast parameters I have discovered? I don’t know.

Right now I would expect to be in hyper pre-storm mode – but I’m not. In fact, I’m actually calm. It’s my own personal calm before the storm.

The new numbers have started dribbling in. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much change from the earlier runs. Two of the most useful models have had very different solutions to this forecast and I’m hoping they come into agreement before I go on at 11:00.

I have become very dependent on these computer projections. There are always meteorologists who will talk about how you shouldn’t be a slave to the models, which is only partially true today. In reality, these computer projections are much better forecasters than any of us mere mortals and our most valuable addition to the finished forecast is interpretation and perspective – two things the computers still don’t do well.

Later tonight I’ll make sure I’m awake when the next set of numbers become available, around 3:00 AM. There’s not much I can do then, but I’ll act the part of someone sitting with a sick friend. I’ll look and grunt to myself, hoping it is consistent with what I say at 10 and 11 tonight.

By tomorrow night the storm will be in progress and another large slice of the population will say “enough winter already.” I am right with them.

2 thoughts on “Snow On The Way”

  1. Hey Geoff, just wondering, what are the two most useful models that you referred to? I’d have to put the NAM up there for #1, as this season it seems to be doing a fairly decent job, but I’m curious as to which two you would put up there…

  2. Hey Geoff,

    I’m starting to get sick and tired of New England winter. I’ve been looking forward to spring and summer in New England and u had to bring snow. Boy u sure know how to ruin a guys thinking about spring.

    It makes me wish i could FEDEX myself to Hawaii

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