Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Starting to Look Like a Busted Forecast

Check back for forecaster grades Wednesday morning after you dig out from the big storm. (Yes, sarcasm reigns this time of year when there's snow talk.)
One man's miracle or is another man's bad forecast.

30 comments:

  1. Well said Bill.
    What a joke. And these people get even paid, and a lot, to do that job.
    Too much blind reliability on the models, and too little 'feel' for the weather.
    I am shocked by the NWS especially.
    First of all their models have proven to be absolute crap, and secondly they stubbornly continue to believe them.
    I am a statistician. If I were to give my clients such busted predictions, I will be out of business by now.

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  2. Plymouth Weather LoverApril 19, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Rigid Kent--settle down. I guess that is why you gave yourself that name. Yikes. Some did a very good job at handling this storm and should be given some credit. Even the NWS never went over 2-4 inches for the NW suburbs. It doesn't take much of a shift to get nothing with a big storm with a lot of dry air in place. I am happy to have all of the model runs and then I would like them to make a prediction. Do you think they are trying to be wrong? I don't think so, my friend. Without the "crap" models, we wouldn't have even known there was going to be a storm in the area--not too far from here, nonetheless. Do you suppose that the "feel" you are talking about is looking out the window in the morning? No thanks, I would rather have a busted forecast than what you could give me based on "feel." C'mon, Rigid.

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  3. I am Rigil, not Rigid by the way.
    I hate those automatic spell-checks.

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  4. Now we'll hear from all the weather types how they said, if this, if that, iftofacto this, especially Paul Douglas.

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  5. I think Rigil is suggesting that some forecasters should have taken more of an "art" approach vs. a "science" approach. Forecasting is both art and science. There was a clear difference in how this forecast was handled by the various forecasters; obviously some chose to use more or less reliance on the models and others, their gut.

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  6. You are missing the point.
    If you are a professional meteorologist, you should know as you said "that it doesn't take much of a shift to get nothing with a big storm with a lot of dry air in place", and modulate your forecasts accordingly, instead of hyping it. That there was going to be dry air in place was certain. That the models have been biased northward lately, was also a given.
    If all you do is telling me that the NAM says this, and the GFS says that, and the ECMWF says that and so let's blend the results, I am sorry, I can do that by myself...
    I mean, I understand your point of view,and this is indeed a very interesting debate to have, but I think you have to agree that we should expect more than simple model output reading, from professional weathermen. More interpretations, more diagnostics, that's what I mean by feel for the weather.

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  7. From MN weatherfan

    I was a little surprised MSP was under an advisory to begin with. Even if we had gotten 2-4" of snow, none of it was going to stick on the road (similar to last friday night.
    Funny to see the spin already in effect. Cue up the 'we dodged a bullet' cliches by the broadcast mets, rather than the 'I missed this forecast and here's why'.

    Rigel, unless you posted something yesterday or the day before, we don't know what your prediction was for this storm. I'm sure
    you can understand the unpredictability of Mother Nature.

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  8. I have to admit, I'm looking for a gun right now. This was a total BUST and I feel bad for all those who bought into the model hype, including myself.

    Let's face it, those who attempt to predict the weather rely on these models, and when they fail, we are left holding the bag. After the last few months of horrible outcomes, I'm starting to think that we need to address what data is going into these numerical models. As they say, "if you put crap in, expect to get crap out".

    I don't know the answer to how we can improve our weather forecasts beyond what we have now. Granted, someone with a great "gut feeling" all the time will be ahead of the game. However, if the computer models can't do a better job of predicting, we are all screwed.

    I think I'm going to run off into a quiet space and vegetate for awhile. I need to lick my wounds.

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  9. I'm feeling pretty good! -P

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  10. A bust as I alluded to last night,and as I wake up this afternoon I see my 'bubble' has done well for himself,just imagine we got 85inches of snow this season and with all the hype and near misses of the last two months we would have been well over an 100" inches,thats how the weather goes,but man there has to be place just south of here with well over 100" inches with everything going there lately

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  11. Novak:

    Don't beat yourself up dude, All models were wrong even the ECMWF didn't get this one right as it consistently showed around 1-3" for the metro, and maybe 3-5" for Rochester, but it never showed the major snow storm that the US models were showing. But I agree GIGO for the US model's, that needs to be fixed, but will it???

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  12. my attention has now shifted to next Tuesday/Wednesday, the ECMWF and GFS are in somewhat of agreement bring some good rains into the area, possible generic thunder with it? Could signal the onset of real spring. Thoughts?

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  13. Well Rochester never got more than an inch or so on the grass, and absolutely nothing on concrete, even porch steps. Why is ground temp never really factored in? And if it is, it always is in passing...

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  14. No, no rain next Tuesday! Twins tickets! I am glad it didn't snow today, but I'd have taken the snow today over rain next Tuesday. :(

    Here's hoping that model outlook is as wrong as this one was.

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  15. Biggest weakness in the models is very limited (almost none) upper air data over the Pacific. Not actually getting soundings of the storm until it makes "landfall" on the west coast and thats when the models started going south.

    Our storms come from the north pacific but they don't actually get "measured" until 36 to 48 hours before it hits us.

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  16. That isn't entirely true cwy, though it may have been in the past. Models run today heavily utilize satellite data, so much so that it comprises 99.9% of all data fed into the model. -P

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  17. Never thought 1 to 3 inches of snow for the metro would be a stretch....sure enough, it was.

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  18. its finally snowing 11pm,at least they can say we got a trace!

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  19. Actually, something that NOAA started last year, I believe, is they had a plane fly out to systems of interest in the Pacific to gather that data, much like what they do with hurricane hunters. That was for a limited time though, and I thought that models were somewhat accurate earlier this winter, but now that I think they've stopped these flights, it shows how much the model data is changed. Do I know this is the problem for certain...no. It's just a hunch :)

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  20. From my understanding NOAA only flys into nor'easters off the Atlantic coast.

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  22. Bill,so the snow thats falling is that going to be counted for the 'storm'that just passed,cuz really the snow from that storm never made it to the metro,the snow that is falling now and most of the overnight hours has been from an upper level disturbance from the Dakotas,which by the looks of things may lay down an 1-2 inches of snow on grassy surfaces,so if your going to count it towards yesterdays storm,then all those forecasts who predicted an inch or two would be spot on.

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  23. Duane is right when it comes to flights over the Pacific, I as well don't know if they are still doing them. At any rate as PH (at mpr) said in the comments section of his blog, I hope the powers to be at NCEP realize how bad the US models have been the last month.

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  24. @Anonymous.... It's a tough call. The forecast was either spot on in the end or it was a double bust, with the second bust going the other way.

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  25. Bill,
    I think it is a double bust for everyone who failed to mention the secondary disturbance. Only the NWS had it in their yesterday's discussion and were consistently showing 1-2 inches possible accumulations for the overnight.
    So, I think you should give everybody else a double-bust, and the NWS one bust and one spot-on.

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  26. I think that we should not dwell on the past and turn our attention to the Mon/Tues/Wed event

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  27. NO RAIN FOR TUESDAY! I forbid it. However, I also forbade yesterday's snow. We all know how that turned out.

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  28. Regarding the plane flying into systems, here's an article from NOAA on it, published back in Jan. of this year. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110113_gulfstreamiv.html

    I also agree with bemaki. What's done is done, and we should look ahead to what is coming down the road...but be careful with the solutions it has to offer :) This is certainly the time of year (much like late fall) when I think forecasters really dislike their jobs. Changing airmasses and the models sub-par job of figuring out how it will play out.

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  29. No quick warm-up anytime soon,70's/80's not in the cards as of yet,ABNORMAL cold to greet the northern plains to begin May(highs in the 50's with a few days struggling to get to 50)its a pretty good bet frost threat will linger well into May and the s-word hasnt been used for the last time for the season!

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  30. So we all love to hate the GFS,so then why is PD still look at it and comment about Mothers Day storm(prints out nearly 2" of precip.)notice I said precip.,it also shows high of 42 and lows in the mid 30's,cold enough for your favorite word Bill,snow?Its 15 days away,come on PD!!!!

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