Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And to the Naysayers ... We've Become "A" Sayers -- Grades Are Out

If the weather forecasters were 10-year-olds they'd be getting  a little extra allowance after their last report card. The minor snowfall that ended on Tuesday ranged from 2 to 3 inches with a few metro areas a bit higher. You may view the progressive forecasts for the storm here: Remember, the grading criteria includes performance on the lead up to the storm as well as performance on the last obtained forecast prior to the beginning of the storm. (Sunday night, in this case.) Cumulative grades and rankings represent composite performance to date. Please remember this is not scientific but represents our best assessment.

WCCO: A- Initially suggested accumulating snow in SW MN and was behind others in providing the "inches" forecast. However, they did get it right with their last forecast.
KSTP: A Well done. 
FOX: B+ The consistent 1 to 3 inch forecast was a bit on the low side.
KARE: A- Was a little on the low side with accumulations on Saturday night but rallied to get it right by Sunday night.
Star Tribune: B Was slow to consider that this snow would be anything than "a very light accumulation." Suggested "shovelable amounts" would be along the Minnesota River Valley through Saturday.
MPR: A- MPR does not provide updates to its weather blog on the weekends except in cases of major storms. Therefore, it's a little hard to grade in the same fashion as the other weather outlets. However, MPR identified the potential for a 3+-inch storm on Friday evening.
NWS: B+ Nailed the final forecast but was only showing a 50% chance of snow at a time (Saturday p.m.) when all others were talking with certainty.

This is a common example of the difficulty in getting accurate forecast information. The Sunday forecast temperature is 8 degrees on the 5-day outlook but is 12 degrees in the text that accompanied the graphic.
The next gradable event maybe for this Friday's possible snow event. There will also be a grade for the prediction of the upcoming cold wave from the weekend into early next week.

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