Yesterday, December 1, is considered the beginning of meteorological winter. Astronomical winter isn’t for another three weeks or so. It doesn’t matter. Historically, this is when the weather weather season starts.
So, here I am on a new station and some time in the next few weeks I’m going to lay out my philosophy for winter weather forecasting.
Though I hate winter that won’t temper my what I say. I don’t deal in wishcasting.
I will not consistently get the accumulation right. It’s not because I won’t try. There is only so much science has figured out. The good news is exact accumulations only matter a little.
Anything from a flurry to a few inches has the same effect. School is cancelled. Traffic slows. Mostly people get by.
Two to about eight inches most people work, but many appointments and optional trips are cancelled. No one’s travelling that really doesn’t have to.
Above eight inches the state stops. Essential services continue slowly. Weatherman driving Premier Subaru’s¹ find a way to get to work but most people don’t bother. Lt. Paul Vance appears on all television stations.
There’s no need to hype. You will watch if we predict flurries or a blizzard.
We’re pretty good on storm timing and whether it actually will snow. I can’t remember the last time snow was a surprise. Long time.
I use “we” because most meteorologists come to similar conclusions with the daily forecast. That’s why the most important criteria in where you get the forecast is who does the best job explaining. Do you actually understand the incoming storm? That’s much more than numbers.
I hope I’m that person for you. You should listen to whomever you’re comfortable with.
There is more pressure on the weather staff when snow is in the forecast. Tensions are high.
Rachel Frank told me she’s tightly wound when storms come. Me too. Someone pack the Maalox.
Missing a winter storm forecast upsets me greatly. They are my lowest moments.
¹ – I am the spokesman for Premier Subaru, do their commercials and happily drive the car.