Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bringing Out the Red Markers for the Jan. 31 Snowstorm

The 4.7 official inches of snow reported at MSP airport were right in line with what the majority of forecasters predicted. The generally high grades on this performance reflect the well-behaved storm. Our only quibble is that several forecasters did not see any snow coming on Thursday night, approximately 72 hours prior to the storm (which tends to undermine the credibility of a five-day extended forecast). Unfortunately, TMF was not able to gather all Thursday predictions (that likely didn't mention snow), so these grades are a little tenuous given some incomplete information. A detailing of the progressive forecast can be found here.

Here are the ever-subject-but-always-truth-intending grades for the storm of Jan. 31:

WCCO: A- Depending on one's definition of a "few inches," they latched on to the proper snowfall range beginning Friday night.
KSTP: B+ They brought up the possibility of snow as early as Wednesday night but felt the chances had decreased substantially by Thursday night. Still, they were ahead of most in recognizing the possibility of the snowstorm. However, they got a little too excited about snowfall prospects and the 4.7" was slightly below their range.
FOX: B No mention of snow until Friday evening. They nailed the ultimate snow range on Saturday p.m. but went a bit higher on Sunday night.
KARE: C+ Our recollection (so don't quote us on this) is that they did not forecast the possibility of snow before Friday. As is their custom, they didn't begin to assign numbers to the nebulous "light snow accumulations" until Sunday morning, which we feel is a little late in the game, particularly if you were to rely on them for planning activities, commutes, etc. Once they developed specifics, they were in the range.
Strib: B- The good news: they got the snow range right beginning Friday evening. The bad news: as recently as Thursday, they not only didn't predict any snow for Monday but even went so far as to declare, "No headline-grabbing storms are in sight the next 2 weeks, just a couple of clippers capable of a coating in the metro, maybe a few inches near Duluth." We find it irksome that there is no appropriate follow-up to that comment when the forecast clearly did a 180.
NWS: B+ Was a bit slow to identify the magnitude of the storm, calling for 2-3 inches on Saturday a.m. But in the end, they nailed the range.


  1. Bill:

    The next chance of grading for snowfall could come this weekend, although it looks pretty weak at this time. My guess for the future is be ready to be busy the last two weeks of Feb.

  2. You survived the coldest day of the week (yesterday), temperatures are heading in the right direction, low 30s possible by Friday and Saturday. Good news: just a few minor snowfalls in sight, and what may be an extended thaw by the third week of February. Paul Douglas (2/3/2011).

  3. When the NWS says on Sunday night, 1-3 inches of accumulation, then repeats it for Monday, and again on Monday night, does that mean I should add up all three predictions of snow accumulations to get a total range?

  4. Yea, that's what I would assume. But I don't know what you're looking at.

  5. I just read on Dave Dahls blog that a "Significant" storm is brewing for next weeekend. Something to keep in mind and he is the only one to identify that this far out. Normally WCCO, KARE11 and Fox9 don't say much about 7 days and further out, but Dahl could be getting a head start on this one. Douglas hasn't said anything yet either, and he noramlly does. I think he will on his blog tomorrow.

  6. Mr douglas has gone on record for 1-3" by sunday,lets move off this post and get onto a new one,what is everyone else saying?,i also saw dahl's blog but if you read it daily hes always saying stuff like that so you keep coming back for more,i hope its true im pretty tired with these 1-5 inch snowfalls since our big storm in mid-december,it would be nice to get something newsworthy like chicago just had,imagine the fun u would have keeping up with a storm of that magtitude.

  7. big daddy...please......are you a weather weenie?...hahaha It's been fun, but I'm tired of this chit. Let's get the thaw going! I have no place to put anymore snow. Bill they're talking "cold" again...time to see who does what.

    On a side note, Bill are you gonna keep this going during severe wx season?

  8. Sorry, Bill, I should have been clearer. The NWS outlook for my location, Lake City, MN.

    Also, I'd like to add my voice to the anonymous poster above, who asked if you're going to keep this going--please do. Talking about the weather is something that's been done since the caveman days (what's Neanderthal for "Hot enough for ya?").