We’ve based our always subjective grades on forecasts issued mid-morning on Saturday with the idea that that was about 12 hours prior to storm onset and were the forecasts people could best use to plan their day. Many forecasters raised their forecast snow totals later in the morning based on newer model information.
MPR: A- MPR essentially nailed the storm (save for blowing and drifting snow which never materialized).
WCCO: C WCCO was among the most aggressive forecasters with a morning forecast of 2-5 inches. They generally maintained the forecast as late as 5 p.m., calling for 2-4 inches. We do appreciate @Matt_Brickman’s acknowledgement that totals were less than expected. (TMF followers know that we like forecasters who are straightforward in their post-event assessment.)
KSTP: B On the surface, KSTP’s morning forecast snow totals were in the ballpark. However, we think the storm still didn’t unfold as they thought. Their forecast was for “significant blowing snow.” However, due to the fact that virtually all snow fell when temps were above freezing, the snow was heavy and wet, and blowing/drifting never materialized.
FOX: C- It’s difficult to grade FOX because their website did not provide any forecast info in the morning. All we had to go on was a tweet in the late morning with predictions of 3-5 inches (and Sunday winds of 20-40 with gusts approaching 60 mph) and an evening prediction of 1-3. FOX was long on the snow estimate and as of this writing midday Sunday, the highest gusts have been 45 mph.
KARE: B- KARE’s morning forecast included a snow range of 1-4 inches, a range that we felt was unreasonably wide. They tightened it to 2-3 inches by the evening newscast, which was ultimately a little higher than actual.
NWS: D This was a disappointing performance by the National Weather Service. Their use of a winter storm warning seemed questionable from the start, and ultimately proved to be overkill.
Strib: B- The Strib’s initial forecast of 1-3 inches was in the range. However, they swayed with the majority of forecasters and became overly ambitious based on late morning model information.
Weather.com: C- Morning predictions were too low, evening predictions were too high.
Accuweather: C Morning predictions of a coating to an inch were too low. Interestingly enough, Accuweather’s forecast as of 5 p.m. was for 1.9 inches, quite close to the final tally.
@NovakWeather: C This grade reflects a mixed performance. Novak was among the first forecasters that we came across who saw the possibility of a New Years Eve storm of significant magnitude earlier in the week, a time when most others were pointing to wind as the most notable weather. However, Novak’s ultimate snow prediction was considerably too high.