Saturday, February 19, 2011

Forecasters, Place Your Bets!

If you were to ask Twin City forecasters, "Is this your final answer?" they'd have to say "Yes." But they'd probably do so with at least a little trepidation. Most forecasters are predicting an historical snowfall, one that rivals the massive December storm. The ever-expanding snowfall forecast continues to the very end ... or the very beginning of the storm.

The guns of winter are again locked and loaded. Here are the final pre-snowfall predictions for our fearless forecasters as of late Saturday night: (If you're new to The Minnesota Forecaster, note that after each snow event we assign a grade to each forecaster's performance. Grading criteria include more than just forecast performance the night before a storm.)

WCCO: 8 to 15 inches (13.3 for metro) Bullseye in western MN)
KSTP: 12 to 20 inches, metro in the bullseye
Fox: 10 to 14 inches (15 to 17 in south suburbs)
KARE: 10 to 15 inches, bullseye to the west
Strib: 12 to 18 inches
NWS: 12 to 14 inches
MPR: 10 to 20 inches

If you'd like to see the historical forecast of this storm by weather outlet (a key factor in our grading), check here. Check back for updates or follow us on Twitter and Facebook in the event we have anything else interesting to say.

In the meantime, get ready to shovel!


  1. Wow Chikage has come over to my thinking, the first one...she is right...given the fact that Dave Dahl had warned us about this several days ago....If this pans out A+ for KSTP

  2. Bill - Great site!
    I happen to watch the WCCO 2/19 10 pm forecast with Mike Fairbourne. He had a bullseye to the West Metro. Per your totals above, the WCCO graphs did have an 8-15 range, however more specifically, their METRO computer totals showed 13.3" for MSP and 15.8" for Montevideo.

    Also, here is WCCO website text forecast as of 11:45 pm on 2/19 for Sunday night [Snow. Areas of blowing and drifting snow. Snow accumulation around 4 inches. Storm total snow accumulation of 12 to 14 inches. Lows around 15. Northeast winds around 20 mph with gusts to around 35 mph]. S
    Sharp gradient as WCCO has Worthington getting 3.3" and Albert Lea at 3.7".

  3. @MN WeatherFan: Thanks for the nice comment! I noticed the 13.3 for MSP and debated putting that into the presentation. Some of the other stations do that as well but it's not uniform. Still, I think I'll go ahead and amend it to reflect that. As for the Monevideo computer total, I typically focus only on the metro to keep things simple.

    The WCCO website text actually comes (or certainly appears) directly from the NWS feed. I've never understood why part of their presentation is from the NWS and part is their own. It makes things confusing.

  4. mpr and star tribune uses nws text as well,why pay for weatherperson for their services and not use their own forecast on their website?

    PD also mentions someone close to home to get 20" in his blog as is chikage and mpr have their max range at 20",I knew others would come around to my thinking of 20" for someone. Let the snowfun begin,nice job keeping up with a busy day Bill.
    No rest for the wary more snow in forecast mid/late next week

  5. Bill...
    one side note,if you actually go into the nws forecast page for an particular city(golden valley) you get an run down of ranges of accumulation for sat night,sunday,sunday night,etc.if you add all those numbers up the total comes out to 11-17inches(1in,7-11in,3-5in)go check it out for yourself,so that 12-14 you have for them is deceiving

  6. Hmmm my forecast at 12.57 followed up by more facts at 1:12... on Saturday....

    my forecast for the metro based on NAM,GFS info from bufkit and a hand calculation from the euro based on temp profiles and QPF's.. Most of the metro will see amounts in excess of 15". However that could still be conservative as the GFS and NAM are showing 20+ on bufkit before compaction. So much will depend on Temps, a drop of 3-4° from the current forecast will make all the difference
    February 19, 2011 12:57 PM
    randyinchamplin said...

    to add one more thing, the Sref plume shows a mean of 17" at the airport. The Sref is made up of 21 members plus the mean, only 6 of the members are below the mean, with the vast majority clustered between 18" and 24", the reason the mean is so low is because 2 of the members show less than 4"
    February 19, 2011 1:12 PM

  7. The Weather Channel has Mike Seidel reporting live from Minneapolis today. At his 7:04 am appearance TWC is forecasting 8-12" of snow for MSP, "with locally higher amounts". This is lower than their text forecasts for St. Paul on their "local on the 8's". When you add up the local on the 8's, TWC has:
    Sun 6-10"
    Sun night 4-6"
    (total = 10-16"
    So a lot of spread even from the same media source within hours of the start of the storm.
    Redwood Falls seems to be the "bullseye" for this storm from TWC.

  8. Follow up....
    Funny @ the 7:34 an live appearance, Mike Seidal just said they upped their numbers for MSP to 12-18". They put up a graph showing the "Top 5 all-time MSP snowstorms" and he indicated a chance of cracking the top 5.
    We'll see.
    They also mentioned thundersnow is falling to the Southwest of the Metro, but they did not mention which city.

  9. Its 7:40am. oops. Looks like that giant Canadian High is blocking the Low from moving in, for the time being.

  10. seems the biggest areas of precip is sliding to the south...may be a fizzle....

  11. is it just me or does the band of moisture on the various radars look pretty thin?

  12. 1st flakes falling in clearwater

  13. Snow started here in Northfield at 8:45 am. Now snowing hard... of the 1 inch/hour type.

    PS - I'm soooo glad to find this blog. Kudos to all involved.

  14. Not a flake in sight...Lake City.

  15. there a way to delete a comment? Mother Nature just made me a liar. I swear it wasn't snowing a minute ago...d'oh!

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. MPR's Updraft Blog is being updated by Craig Edwards. Nice to see three new blog posts since 6 am:

    No updates from Paul Douglas since 11 pm last night.

  18. We just set up a new blog post where you can provide comments, thoughts and feedback on the storm as it happens:

  19. mpr updraft hasnt updated anything on their website since 1am last night,kstp hasnt updated their website either

  20. Actually, KSTP posted a video on their site at 6:30 a.m. They're also very good with tweets if you follow them on Twitter.