The Winter Storm Thing… Again

That’s not to say the models didn’t venture guesses. It’s just the guesses changed each time the programs were run!

KBDL precip from coolwx.pngOne of the weaknesses of making long range forecasts is you get to anguish over storms for a l-o-n-g time. Take tonight’s little doozie. This system has been well modeled by the computers for more than a week–since it was well out in the Pacific.

With each succeeding run it seemed more likely Connecticut would have some impact. The question was how much impact and from what? Would it be snowy or just rainy and raw? This part of the equation seemed beyond the computer’s expertise.

That’s not to say the models didn’t venture guesses. It’s just the guesses changed each time the programs were run! Though some of the prior results are seeded into the next run’s initialization, there’s little memory these machines maintain from forecast-to-forecast.

Now it looks like the rain/snow line was so hard to get at because it will be moving over us. The storm will be snow then rain. But when the turnover?

There will be plenty of quality number time today. My love of math will be tested with charts and graphs and maps. It’s a geek’s paradise.

I’ve got a horse in the race this time. Helaine’s due back in Connecticut late tomorrow night. I am in charge of transport.
Predicting the weather’s impact on airlines is rough. Most likely she will make it to Connecticut without problem, but face some snowy roads on our way home.

Spring is almost here and I can’t wait. I really can’t!

3 thoughts on “The Winter Storm Thing… Again”

  1. Geoff,
    My concern is that the models have it wrong again. As we have seen throughout much of the winter the pattern has been for storms to go farther south and east than what the models have shown.
    We saw that in December and we saw it with the last 3 storms. The first big Mid-Atlantic storm had its outer precip shield just south of LI.
    Then the next big one, you know, the one that caused your on-air apology, came so close that Port Jeff got 15″ of snow but that storm moved south and east “sparing” us the big snow.
    Then the storm last week ended up going south and east of LI instead of right over LI and into us as predicted by the models. Causing us to have more snow that anticipated.
    Could we be in for another surprise this week?

  2. The problem I have with all this is you folks in the weather biz (sorry). You truck out your earlydoppltrackperdictor or whatever your station calls it. Then you all have to be the first ones with the scoop. You all have to brag that you were the first one to tell everyone about the storm.
    The thing is this is New England, it SNOWS here! It is not big news, it should be part of the regular forcast. We expect snow to fall tomorrow, don’t hype it, don’t predict how many inches, don’t scare the schools so much that they cancel school for snow that never shows.
    I remember the olden days when we didn’t get all the up to date technology. Somehow they weemed to get it right. I don’t ever remember school getting cancelled and then not having it snow.
    Please calm the hype, don’t cut into programing to show us radar just the basic facts, please!

  3. Katie –
    You’re right. We need to go back to old technology–like the Hurricane of ’38 which came TOTALLY unannounced. We were better then. Even the Blizzard of ’78, also TOTALLY unannounced. Look at all the fun the stranded folks had as they sat trapped.on blocked Interstates.
    Truth is, today children mainly bus to school and people don’t often work in their own town. Maybe your life hasn’t changed, but society has. Most people appreciate being prepared.
    I’m curious what your criteria would be if you were a school superintendent and all those kids were your legal responsibility? Would you be as cavalier as you are now? It’s easy to speak when you’ve got no skin in the game. How much danger or risk is acceptable? Quantify it, as they must.
    I take personal offense that you imply I ever bragged about forecasting something first. It’s not a question of speed. My only concern is accuracy–unless you think I enjoy getting emails from people like you. I decidedly do not.
    Geoff Fox

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