Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Passing Grades But No "A"s for Monday Night Football Snowstorm

Today's snowstorm, which both arrived and departed a little earlier than forecast, looks like it will leave most forecasters patting themselves on the back (indeed, it has). But the Minnesota Forecaster strives to be a bit more objective. The grading criteria can be found here. (Note: the official snow accumulation at the MSP airport was 4.5 inches as reported on the 10 p.m. news.)

WCCO: C+ Final prediction of 5 to 9 inches was a little high. Also thought highest accumulations would be to the northeast when in fact the bigger snow totals seemed to be on the southwest side.
KSTP: D+ On Friday, they predicted "the track of this snow seems to be south of the metro." Last night, they forecast 8 inches (6 to 10 inches). They missed the mark.
FOX: C On Saturday, they called for "8+ inches in of near the Twin Cities." They came down to a forecast of 4-7 inches last night, which was generally correct.
KARE: B- Off on timing of the storm. On Saturday night, the forecast called it for it be "dry for most of the daylight hours Monday." Obviously, this was not the case. Their final forecast of 4 to 7 inches was generally correct, though no accumulations greater than 6 inches were recorded in the Twin Cities.
NWS: B- Generally, a decent job, though a bit high on projected snow accumulations. However, the amount of snow received never met official winter storm warning criteria and a winter weather advisory may have been more appropriate.
Star Tribune: B- Like others, initially thought the best chance of accumulations were to the south. They joined the 4-8 inch bus by Sunday.
MPR/Paul Huttner: B First to identify the possibility that the snow would end as a period of freezing rain. Paul's forecast of the popular "4 to 8 inches" was also a little high.


  1. So, by your ever-so-scientific grading method, a forecast of 4-8" is "a little high" even though the amount of snow recorded at the airport was 4.5"? Sounds worse than the ambiguity one might hear from a forecaster! If the forecast is for 4-8" and the actual amount is within that range, it's an accurate forecast. The entire range doesn't need to be fulfilled...

  2. In my mind, a forecast of 4-6 inches would have been the appropriate forecast. There were virtually no reports of snow in the metro area above 6 inches. As for the grading method, please refer to the grading criteria link at the top. I've explained that it's not particularly scientific. Thanks for the feedback.