Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Interesting Weather on the Way?

Forecasters are finding the weather pattern to become more active. Use this space to talk amongst yaselves!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

While We Wait for Interesting Weather....Share Your Weather Links

As snow lovers and winter weather enthusiasts wait for "interesting" weather to come through the region, it's been suggested that we use this break in the action for followers and weather enthusiasts to post their favorite weather sites, links, etc. If you're inclined, provide some of your bookmarked favorites so we can share the weather love.

In the meantime, we'll all keep scanning the horizon for something, anything that's interesting.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For Central MSP, Snowfall Surprises Twin Cities Forecasters

Whether or not you think this was a well-predicted storm probably depends on where you live. For purposes of The Minnesota Forecaster and our assessment, we consider what happens at our urban St. Paul headquarter location, approximately three miles south of 94 and two miles east of the Mississippi. The official snowfall recorded by the MSP airport was 3.0 inches, which was essentially the same amount received at TMF.

In the big picture, this storm was fairly well predicted. However, upon closer inspection – specifically the snowfall in the close-in metro – the performance was lacking. MPR’s Paul Huttner provides a very good synopsis of the general forecast performance and challenges here. Due to the on-again, off-again nature of the storm, we didn’t track each and every forecast leading up to the storm as we might have. Here’s our subjective assessment of the performance of local forecasters.

Essentially, all weather prognosticators missed the band of heavier snow that set up over the south metro. As of Friday night, most forecasters were calling for 1-2 inches of snow at best for the Twin Cities. All forecasters also stated that metro snowfall amounts would be higher on the northwest side; some, such as KARE11’s Jerrid Sebesta, even suggested that southern suburbs like Burnsville might not receive any snow (Burnsville recorded 3 inches).

We felt that Fox9’s Ian Leonard minimized this storm a little too much. His mantra for the storm in the days leading up to the storm was “more wet than white” and he attempted to distance himself from others’ storm hype that he felt was unwarranted. While in the end this was clearly not a megastorm, we think the large number of metro-area traffic accidents reflects that it was a legitimate storm that justified solid warning if not hyping.

On Saturday morning, the Star Tribune’s Paul Douglas, while rightfully declaring that he thought snow amounts would be toward the upper end of the 1-3 inch range, forecast that the snow would not stick to roads until closer to 5 p.m. as darkness descended. This, in fact, was wrong, and was no small error given the number of people relying on his information.

As late as early morning Saturday, MPR maintained an expectation of a coating to an inch. MPR upgraded forecasts amount by early afternoon to reflect higher snowfall projections.

We also believe the National Weather Service was inexplicably slow in issuing a snow advisory. While one can argue that the first snow of any kind justifies the issuance of an advisory, the band of heavier snow that began to set up over the south metro shortly after noon should have triggered an advisory. This seemed a missed opportunity for public awareness about deteriorating road conditions. The advisory was issued close to 3 p.m.

As we said, we didn’t watch every forecast from every media outlet leading up to the storm. Did you see any forecasts or official comments that you thought were especially on or off for this storm forecast?

Friday, November 18, 2011

MSP Forecasters Place Their Bets on Season's First Snow

As of Friday night, most forecasters were predicting a minimal snowfall for the Twin Cities of 1 to 2 inches. The Weather Channel predicts 2-4 inches.  The following are forecasts from most of the major outlets. Note there are some differences among forecasters as to where the region's largest snowfall will occur. For new visitors, Minnesota Forecaster can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


MPR Weather
Strib/Paul Douglas
Novak Weather

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

At Last, Something to Talk About

As of Wednesday evening, there remains great uncertainty about what will actually happen on Saturday. reflects "up to 6 inches of snow" whereas some of the local outlets are thinking it will be more wet than white. And is this really much of a storm at all or is it just that Minnesota weather enthusiasts are starving for something to talk about?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Boring November Continues ... Storms, Cold in Sight?

Minnesota's weather enthusiasts haven't had much to cheer about in several months. Through mid-November, it's been dry and mild. Some think the weather may get interesting the weekend of Nov. 19-20; others think the boring weather will continue through at least Thanksgiving. What says you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Snow Possiblities for Next Week?

The local weather Twittersphere has been filled with talk about a possible snowstorm for the middle of next week. As of this writing, most forecasters seem to think it will pass southeast of the Twin Cities. What do you think/hope will happen?