Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Why Forecasting Snow is So Difficult

While people are generally happy with this forecast, I always review mine.

Below is my review of my forecast. 
In this satellite image, red = snow.
Please note the narrow width of of the band of heavy snow in south central Kansas and northwest Oklahoma. While my Wichita forecast of 2 to 6 inches was very reasonable (and, given the data, exactly the forecast I would make again), we only had 11/4 inches in far northeast Wichita with heavier amounts as one traveled west. The official amount on the southwest side of town (Eisenhower National Airport National Weather Service Office) was 2.1 inches. But, five miles to the west of Eisenhower, 4" fell. In the western part of the county? Seven inches. As we have frequently discussed, thundersnow -- which occurred in northwest Oklahoma -- can cause very heavy rates of snow over very small geographic areas.

Given the ten mile difference between the forecast and what actually occurred, I would say we are getting much better at this. But, we still have a way to go.

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