Thursday, January 4, 2018

Heap of Cold, Ounce of Snow

As the calendar turned to 2018, snow aficionados were wondering if the cold would ever yield a reasonable snowfall. The watch -- and the wait -- continues.

170 comments:

  1. In response to PWL and the other posters at the end of the last thread, like clockwork here we go. I thought it was irresponsible of the NWS to post a 70% chance of snow for next Thursday. They can't predict snow 24 hours in advance. They surely can't predict it 7 days in advance. I noticed this morning that they came to their senses and lowered the chance of snow for next Thursday to 30%. The way this winter is limping along snow-wise I would be surprise if we see anything other than some flurries or a light dusting. That leads me to my next point. It's finally going to warm up, but now the NWS is talking about maybe 40 degrees and freezing drizzle or mix. All I can do is shake my head. Yes, it can get very cold here in the Twin Cities, as is evident over the past week and a half. The question is can it actually snow here anymore? Colorado lows seem to bring the threat, and often the reality, of mix instead of just heavy snow for us. Hopefully that was only because the past two seasons were so warm and the lows had no cold reservoir of cold air to tap. We will have to wait and see what the rest of this winter brings us. What a slap in the face it will be to have all of this cold and then not get all snow when a storm finally does manage to find us up here.

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  2. I will try to lay it down once (and hopefully for the last time) as it seems people continue not to get it and cling to 'hopes' and 'expectations' of singificant snow in the Twin Cities metro that are baseless.
    The Twin Cities will never get heavy snow this winter and hardly ever again in the future, for these basic reasons:

    1) To get snow here you need moisture and cold air.
    2) Differently from the Lake Effect snow belt or the East Coast that have nearby and reliable constant sources of moisture (the lakes and the Atlantic Ocean) we have none.
    3) This means we need to rely on the southern jet to bring moisture here.
    4) We also need to rely on the northern jet to provide the cold air.
    5) The location of the TC has always been in a no- man's land with regards of where the optimal phasing of the 2 jets occurs (usually too much to the east).
    6) Climate change has exacerbated this by enhancing the frequency of split flow regimes that means we have either the northern jet dominant (cold and dry) or the southern jet dominant (moisture but warm enough for mix precip in winter).

    So in a nutshell the only way we get significant moisture here is in a southern jet dominant situation which means also too much warm air for all snow.
    I really hope that this makes it clear to all so we can stop whining about "oh it does not snow anymore" as if there were a conspirancy agains the TC.
    It just does not snow anymore because the new climate patterns have made the TC even less favorable to significant snows that they were in the past.

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  3. All I have to say is that there are rumblings from some forecasters of RAIN in the TC next week, then followed by cold and dry of course. It reminds me of back east where it would be cold, then warm up so it could rain and then get cold and dry again. Sad, very sad!

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  4. Truly sad if it rains, I'm from the east and that's a pretty accurate statement but at least in the east(and along the coast)you could look forward to 1-3 Nor'easters per winter that was either all snow or at the very least front loaded with snow then mix. Anonymous @9:10am you make some valid and interesting points but at least put a name to yourself.
    @PWL and @ Snow Meister I believe it was very irresponsible of the NWS to put out "snow likely" 7 days in advance when they cant get the 3 day accurate or what has been the case the last several years is what looks good at distance rarely materializes...safe bet is to go with 50% that far out in my opinion.

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  5. NWS essentially has 40 degrees and rain Wednesday. Every time they issue an updated forecast the temperatures go up and up. I won't be surprised if it's in the mid-40's Wednesday with springtime rain showers. As others have said, sad, very very sad and pathetic. smh

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  6. I don't get why some of you are ripping into the NWS. Their job is to help the public plan ahead when it comes to potentially hazardous weather conditions. The problem is that some of the general public simply doesn't understand that weather is NOT a perfect science & much of the 4casts are speculation. In other words, 4casts will change, sometimes on a dime.

    However, the NWS has to talk about potential scenarios 3, 5, 7, 10, 30 days, 3 months, etc. in advanced. Give them a break, that is their job.

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  7. "I thought it was irresponsible of the NWS to post a 70% chance of snow"

    Oh, okay.

    If you want to get mad, get mad at the idea that the CEO of mthrfckng Accuweather wants to be the head of NOAA. THAT would be irresponsible. If that happens, you wouldn't have an NWS to whine about anymore.

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  8. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 6, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    Love most comments on here. But I agree with Novak when he says he doesn’t understand all the ripping on the NWS! Totally agree. My only concern in my last post at the end of the last thread was that the snow being listed as likely 7 days out did not match the forecast discussion. To me, 70% is pretty likely to happen. But when the discussion talks about so much uncertainty, it is strange how that percentage gets attached. I LOVE it when I see “snow likely” in any forecast. Usually when I see that, I am excited to read the discussion as I assume it will be talking about a pretty confident situation. Same thing this morning. Much uncertainty is talked about especially as it relates to a split flow conversation. I think 50% would be a good percentage to use with that amount of uncertainty. I know they have a tough job but it is the regular person reading this. Not critical—just wondering the thinking behind that.

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  9. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 6, 2018 at 11:53 AM

    And Anon at 9:38, we don’t need that kind of language. Seriously. Bill, please consider deleting.

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    1. PWL, I agree with you on both accounts. I think overall the NWS does a much more than adequate job. Forecasting is not an exact science and it is not easy most of the time. My only complaint is that in my opinion there was no support for forecasting a 70% chance of snow not only 7 days out, but also in an winter season that has so far provided a dearth of snow. As for the language from the poster at 9:38, that's unacceptable. We can all effectively express ourselves without the use of gutter talk. Let's focus on our mutual love of the weather and keep it classy, ladies and gents!

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  10. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 7, 2018 at 1:15 PM

    Novak is starting to use the b-word for next week. Blizzard baby! Bring It!!!!!

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    1. Not for the metro PWL, most of the locales he mentioned is south of metro.This will be a case of "south and east of the metro" gets the snow gold!

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    2. He also started using the other b-word for next week.
      Bust baby! Bring that!!!!

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  11. This is going to be a comment that some may find nasty but I strongly urge everyone to read carefully before blasting or for Bill to delete it.

    Weather 4casters need to be COHERENT.
    If it is true like Novak (and others) have been saying that ‘weather is not a perfect science’ (weather actually is, it is weather 4casting which is not) and therefore “most of the 4casts are speculation” (and I personally agree with such statements) then do not speculate!

    Tweets advertising snowstorms a week in advance are always, if you notice carefully, worded in such vague ways to always make them look right no matter what the actual outcome will ultimately be.
    Game theorists and logics experts call these tautologies: statement written in a way that are true by definition.
    Sadly weather 4casters have become extremely skilled at using the fact that weather is not a perfect science, and therefore everything can change on a dime as the perfect excuse to basically never be accountable and keep speculating when they should not.
    And please do not come and tell me that this is necessary for the public to plan in advance because people do not plan based on speculation. It is unwise and dangerous and it sounds like ‘crying wolf’ to detrimental effects as numerous studies on the over-issuance of tornado warnings have shown.

    So you either go the Ian Leonard’s route (no hyping or even mention big storms until they look extremely likely), or the Joe Bastardi’s route (you make the call well in advance) but then you hold yourself open to criticism if you get it wrong or enjoy you well-deserved praise if you get it right.
    But please enough of statements like “someone here/there will get snow, but wait things can change so someone there/here may not get it”.
    I ALREADY KNOW THAT!.

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    1. I don't necessarily disagree with you. (And see no need to delete your comment!)

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    2. I couldn't disagree more.

      Much of the public likes to know, well ahead of time, when they have to create a 'Plan B' in case weather spoils their fun.

      Also, there is a huge segment of our economy that is based on market futures. Weather forecasting companies are making big $ capitalizing on this and for good reason.

      What about D-Day? That plan was based on future weather conditions.

      These are just a few of the many examples I could give on why speculation is needed in weather.

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    3. And that's exactly the problem with the profession you represent: a will to speculate for the sake of it, with no regard if it accurate or not.
      And no. Normal people do not make Plan B based on speculation.
      Only fools do.

      Delete
  12. Love this argument. I completely agree.

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  13. Instead of having arguments shouldn't we be like discussing the potential of the upcoming storm?

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    1. Yes! I was just listening to NOAA weather radio at 4 a.m. and was so surprised to hear totals of 4-6 inches Wed night/Thursday. "Where did that come from? And will it 'stick' and still be true Wed night/Thursday?" Can't wait to find out. Yes, please 'those who know' discuss the potentials for the upcoming 'snowmaker' that is in the forecast. I look forward to it.

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  14. NWS said this morning 4-7 inches area wide Wednesday night/Thursday with higher amounts possible in some locations depending upon where the deformation zone(s) set up. Thoughts? Cautiously optimistic here.

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  15. NWS has gone all in with their chips on the table and called for 100% chance of snow on Wed night and Thurs. Hoping to hear about amounts now instead of bust potential!

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  16. Hopefully noone is really believing the Metro will get significant snow out of this system?
    Otherwise, you know what JohnnyMac would say: "You cannot be....."

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    1. I agree I hope no one is getting their hopes really high in the metro, we have been down this road many times in recent past and with a bunch of disappointments. Just tell yourself we're getting 1-3" and if we get more you'll be happy.

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  17. Has this storm come ashore yet? Models tend to get much better once they do. GFS has held pretty steady on this for the last 24 hours with minor movement of the snow. Still shows a pretty significant system. Will be curious what happens when the models lock on it. Has anyone seen the Euro? I currently do not have access to it.

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  18. The Euro is showing temps above freezing until Thursday afternoon. Rain or snow/rain mix prior to that.

    https://www.yr.no/place/United_States/Minnesota/Minneapolis/long.html

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    1. Looks like the Euro paints a healthy snow here nonetheless.

      -tim

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  19. Anonymous Snow haterJanuary 8, 2018 at 1:19 PM

    Don't let the 6+ inch snow maps fool you! Soon enough the metro will start hearing words like "sharp gradient", " more snow north and west of the metro", the dreaded "dry tongue" or another snowlovers hated line " snow suppressed south and east" of the metro.
    This is a classic MSP non-snowstorm= very cold air for weeks before said storm followed by a warm up right before storm so that its warm enough for rain and mix then it turns colder right before precip exits and we end up with some slushy slop candy coating of snow then it turns Super near 0 cold and everything is solid ice again. There you have it folks, this week in a nutshell.

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    1. This has zero backing.

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    2. Yes, there is a good chance of that happening.

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  20. Novak's travel impact map is on his Facebook page. At least right now the map shows the area from SW MN northeast to Duluth, but north of the metro, with a moderate impact. The TC is in the low impact zone.

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  21. Interesting: that means the storm track is just south of the metro giving SW-NE heaviest axes.
    Since traditionally these things tend to shift south-east as the event gets closer that gives up for snow lovers in the metro.
    Of course we all know how it will end: either to the NW or to the SE the metro will end up with mostly nothing but at least it's fun to pretend that maybe this time will be different (it won't alas)!

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  22. I remain pessimistic, especially given that:

    1) big snowstorms are actually rather rare in the Twin Cities, even in the historical record
    2) the trend in recent years is too much warm air
    3) I live here, so the heaviest snowfall will go elsewhere

    I hope I'm wrong. Maybe this storm will be the anomaly.

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    1. I LIKE that attitude!
      People embracing the Twin Cities Snow Lover Misery Theorem: wherever you live, if you like snow, it always snow anywhere else except where you are!
      Exactly spot on @Joel Fischer.
      That is the most accurate way to forecast snowfall :)

      Delete
  23. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 8, 2018 at 4:37 PM

    I liked how Anon on 1/8 at 1:05am suggested that we discuss the upcoming storm. I think that is what the spirit of this blog is. So let's get back to that. Bring it to conversations that involve discussions of the upcoming storm. Whether you love snow or not, you can share your assessments and analysis based on the latest model run or what the forecasters are saying, etc.

    To that point: What I like about this storm compared to the last storm (about a month ago) is that it seems like the jet streams will have phased and we are not talking about a split flow. I worry about the warming, but I would assume there will be some dynamic cooling with the rate at which the snow might fall last on Wednesday night. Storms seem to shift right up to the time they show themselves so I would expect a shift and would hope that it involves moving a little south and east to bring that heaviest snow right to Plymouth with some deformation zones set up right over us. That would also help reduce the chances of the dreaded dry tongue.

    So....I covered phasing, deformations zones, shifting, and dry tongue. Let the analysis continue.... Bring it!

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  24. Upper level support (200mb to 300mb winds) is solid with a classic comma shaped pattern. Jet streaks north & south of MSP places the metro in the best position for significant snows. All model guidances agree on this set-up.

    There will no doubt be a dry tongue dangerously close to the MSP metro, but likely just southeast over the southeast corner of MN northeast into central WI. The strong jet winds in those areas would support this.

    Rain/Snow line pushes steadily east across MN early THUR am as indicated by the 850mb 32 degrees F isotherm. This isotherm likely gets hung-up as it reaches the RST & EAU metro areas.

    Surface low track from MCI to GRB is nearly perfect for heavy snows across much of so. MN/nw WI.

    We need the storm to fully come ashore so that we can measure it better via the rich data network on land. That likely occurs for the TUE 12z guidance runs.

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  25. A bit skeptical about the higher amounts that some of the guidance is putting down. All models show the trough surviving the trip over the mountains and re strengthens it briefly before it quickly takes on a more neutral tilt. At that point the energy ejects out in pieces instead instead of one piece, the rest getting buried in Texas. Seems to me at this point the prudent thing would be to side with the lower end of the guidence aka the euro.

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  26. Winter Storm Watch posted for a big chunk of territory, including the Twin Cities Metro. As PWL says: BRING IT! Here is the link which hopefully stays for a spell:http://f1.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=MNZ060&warncounty=MNC053&firewxzone=MNZ060&local_place1=Saint%20Louis%20Park%20MN&product1=Winter+Storm+Watch&lat=44.9497&lon=-93.3789#.WlSVG5M-f6Y

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  27. You beat me to it @WeatherGeek!....Hopefully this storm pans out and at least delivers the 4-8" NWS is saying.

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    1. I am praying so. I have Super Bowl volunteer training on Thursday downtown... what better way to do it than taking the bus through a big snow dump! :+) Just wish the temps weren't going down in the cellar again afterwards. That makes it January and not March, ha ha. Anyway, yes, PWL is going to be dancing big time. I look forward to the discussion here over the next few days plus the snow totals, etc.

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  28. I'm excited that it's supposed to finally snow, but after reading the NWS discussion this morning it's clear it's not going to be an old fashioned MN snowstorm. Mix and very tight snow gradients are part of the discussion, per usual anymore. Even the NWS discussion states, "Needless to say, it`s another splitting hairs winter storm forecast which have been all too common in recent years around here." I will be surprised if most places get anymore than 2 inches. I wish I had a reason to be more confident in this system than that.

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  29. For what it's worth, the point forecast for Medicine Lake (my area) is calling for 5-9 inches. However, I don't think we put much faith in accumulations predictions in point forecasts. I hope we get 9!!!

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  30. A couple of inches seems fair. Officially the airport always seems to underperform other metro locales so I am calling for 1.8.
    Hopefully enough to recreate some snow cover we will be losing today and tomorrow.
    That's all we can hope for in the new reality of the broken Twin Cities winters.

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  31. I love being in the bullseye two days out!

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  32. And just like clockwork models are building in a sharp gradient and the South cities getting creamed. What a surprise.

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  33. Of course. It would be foolish to expect otherwise.
    Consistency is one of the most accurate laws of meteorology:
    opposite to financial markets, previous outcomes actually are very good predictors of future ones.

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  34. Bye-bye heavy snowfall for the metro, hello sharp gradient! I believe I said that yesterday on the sharp gradient and now Novak is using it. The disappointed snow lovers will come out in droves shortly.

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    1. I am said "snow-lover", but I do not see the point of getting excited over something not on shore yet. No expectations = no disappointments. :)

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    2. Clearly on shore.

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    3. Clearly on shore.

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  35. Have the models really shifted south or is it just the usual the sky is following panic mode of some posters here?

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    1. I'm reserving judegement until we actually hear from an expert or someone with the ability to formulate a rational interpretation of the models, versus the Anon folks on here assuming it's a bust (because the last storm busted).

      The same poor souls who have already written off the Vikings...you know, because of '09, '98, and the 4 Superbowl losses.

      Seriously people...this forum is for people who ENJOY weather and storms. Quit crapping in our cereal.

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  36. And after watching Nam12k flip north once again.. im calling it 0-20 inches for MSP.

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    1. I think we can be more accurate that that:
      0-150 inches in areas approximately extending from Fargo all the way south-east to Chicago.

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  37. Seriously. This board is so frickin' entertaining!

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  38. Dr. Novak, what are your current thoughts about how the storm will affect the metro?

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  39. We're hoping to do a video this evening? What questions do you all have that we can discuss?

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    1. How to the warmer (than expected) temps today AND the existing snow"pack" positively or negatively affect the rain vs snow forecast? Do one of these have a larger effect than the other?

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    2. Not one good thing ever comes from a video. Do not do one. It ruins every storm! Please!

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    3. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 9, 2018 at 5:37 PM

      One question that I have for Novak that isn't specific to this storm, but could be: In your opinion, what are the models struggling with overall? They seem to be off as it comes to predicting even a few days out. Is there something specific about the models related this storm that they had a hard time figuring out?

      Delete
  40. Andrew has a good post about the storm here: https://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2018/01/january-10-12-winter-storm.html

    It looks like his preferred map has 3-6 across a NW-SE Metro line.

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  41. Great day not to be a weather forecaster. The 18z GFS is just coming in and all of Minnesota looks more like an advisory than a watch. The heavier snow band went east and is very narrow.

    No idea if that model will hold but what a brutal storm to predict. The temperature range is crazy from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

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  42. You don't need to be a weather forecaster to know that this storm was going to shift south-east leaving the metro with next nothing. A lot of posts have clearly predicted this wasgoing to happen a few days in advance and that is what is punctually going to.
    It's very easy actually to predict snow amounts for the Twin Cities: don't look at the models (which are crap) and just use common sense and previous trends and go for a coating to 2inches and you will always be right.
    I feel better and better about my 7.48am prediction of 1.8" for MSP. I may have even been a tad optimistic.

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  43. Snow totals going down and ice potential going up. I swear it was not like this in my childhood. Maybe I've lost my mind. :+(

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  44. I recently found this blog and it is really interesting.
    I only recently moved to the Minneapolis area (I am originally from Sweden) and I am sad to see that a lot of people seem frustrating with the lack of snow in the Minneapolis/St Paul area.
    But, if that makes you some of you feel better I can tell you that it's not just Minnesota. In the Stockholm area where I grew up we used to have much snowier winters when I was a kid that in the past years. Snowfall of around 15-20cm (I believe 8-9 inches?) was the norm several times during a winter but it is not the norm anymore, but the exception...
    Anyways I will be following... I like talking about the weather.

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    1. Thanks, Jens! Most interesting comment we've received in quite a while. Thanks for being involved.

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    2. I'm curious know how you learned about this blog. Can you tell me?

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    3. Yes of course. I have noticed that weather forecasting vary a lot depending on which channel you watch and so I was trying to find some information on who is the most reliable and your blog was one of the first things that appeared in the search.

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  45. The writing appears to be on the wall...hmmmmm, same old story, just a different date. And on and on it goes.

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  46. Here is a link to the MN DNR seasonal TC snowfall totals, 1883-1884 winter through the 2016-2017 winter. I will hold my conclusions and let each of you draw your own.

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/historical/acis_stn_data_monthly_table.html?sid=mspthr&sname=Twin%20Cities%20Area&sdate=1884-07-01&edate=por&element=snow&span=season&counts=no

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  47. Less snow is just fine. Thursday night will be well below zero, so the roads could be very bad.

    Has MNDOT started issuing pre-excuses yet?

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  48. So basically the video is for Novak to tell us that the metro will be screwed for the like thousandth time in just the last few years. Heard it enough, you all enjoy the repeat video. Ask Novak if he thinks the metro will get nailed by a snowstorm in let's say the next 5 years. You would think one of these years would have a pattern capable of producing a metro snowstorm.

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  49. The purpose of a video is to educate. That's always been the purpose. In fact, I think it's almost as valuable when heavy snow is NOT forecast. A solution for those of you who don't want to see the video: don't watch.

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    1. +100. Right on. Thanks Bill.

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    2. Thank you for doing the videos.

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    3. Love the videos Bill. Love learning how the models are read and what breaks down. That’s the entire point of this forum.

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  50. New video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUIxMWoFhB8

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    1. Great information in the video guys, and those snow total potentials are crazy!

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  51. My take on this storm hasn't changed. I have disregarded the NAM as it is kicking way to much energy out towards Minnesota than any other model out there that I can see vorticity solutions. I'm going with the very consistent GEM and Regular Gem with this one. I feel that it has the proper idea with ejecting very little energy out towards us. This is due to the orientation of the trough from 500mb down through 850mb. It is a neutral to positive tilt instead of negative. Any surface low pressure that does develop will have a hard time lifting far enough to the NW to heavily effect even the SE metro.

    Therefore my forecast is 1-2" for the nw metro, 2-4" for the se metro.

    For se MN, I see a widespread 4-5" from near Rochester nw to say Cannon Falls. There may be a very very narrow band that could qualify for a Winter Storm Warning however it is going to be to narrow to allow for said warning to be issued.

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  52. Nothing to see here again in the core MSP, watch was downgraded to advisory with your run of a mill 1-3" snowfall
    MSP is gunning for that all time record low snowfall this year(what is it 14.2" I believe), if not the record we should squarely be in the top ten least snowfalls this year. Pathetic!

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  53. All of the hoopla with no substance. The NWS forecast this morning confirms what we have all known from the beginning, a token inch or two at best for most of the metro. Go home folks, as usual there is nothing to see here in Minnesota's snow shield zone. Ho hum - Good call randyinchamplin!

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  54. As Paul Douglas always says (not that I'm a big fan of his) "Don't predict rain during a drought!" or any type of precipitation.

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  55. Novak has some tweaking to do with his snow totals map today. In video he had the core metro in a 4-6" band, C-2" should be the downgrade today.

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  56. "watch was downgraded to advisory with your run of a mill 1-3" snowfall" ...actually going from a watch to advisory or warning is considered an upgrade.

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    1. You can call it what you like, but too us common folk when you are placed under a "watch" which by definition is 5+" of snow in 12 hours OR 7+" in 24 hours and you end with a "advisory" with 1-3" forecasted that's a downgrade to me. Does anyone else feel the same way?

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    2. I agree. And perception is everything.

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    3. I thought a "watch" was for the 'potential', just as a Tornado Watch is for the potential for tornadoes, not a guarantee.

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  57. 06z GFS shifted slighly north again?
    Printing almost double qpf than the 00z?

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  58. Almost mid-January and there was a great deal of bare ground on my drive to work this morning from Plymouth to Minnetonka. I guess I should get used to it. Pathetic! At least we don’t have to worry about Spring flooding this year.

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  59. William and Novak good video, best yet really, and no overhype. Nice job and thank you.

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  60. Well there went that snow storm everything pushed it south. Not even Red Wing is going to be on the big part of it it's even further than that, i think novak might want to redo his totals from lastnight.

    Gregg

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  61. WCCO called for 2-4" with the potential for more depending where the heaviest band ends up, and their on-screen graphic had 5.6" for MSP.

    The NWS forecast for Thursday went from 1-3" for my SW Metro location up to 2-4" this morning too.

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  62. Both GFS and NAM pushing most of the heavy snowfall out of Minnesota to the southeast. Hilarity! Can't wait for the backtracking to start...

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  63. It looks like Novak 5.2" for the airport in the video is going to be a colossal bust.
    Never forecast more than 1-2 inches for the metro.
    This is the new snowfall cap Mother Nature has instituted for the next 5 years.
    She told she'll review this legislation in 2023 to see if changes are needed.
    LOL!!!!

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  64. Move the decimal point one position to the left.

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  65. I was really suprised as I was watching the video that someone with Novak's experience would put so much faith on the NAM model which has been known to have a strong NW bias for the past 2-3 years, and has been especially abysmal with its qpf forecast.

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  66. I do not even see how this can even reach advisory criteria for the metro...
    Curious to see what NWS does as the new shift issues the new discussion (usually between 3 and 4 pm).

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  67. Are all of these Anonymous postings from the same person?

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    1. That would be one really bored person LOL.

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  68. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 10, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    So....for those who have actually seen the models, have they shifted at all? And please only respond if you have seen the models.

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    1. As of right now almost all models point to an extremely thin band affecting the SE corner or so of the state. What comes with such a small band is a plethora of uncertainty. It is nearly impossible for the models to pin down something so specific. It all depends on where the bands set up over the state. As of right now SE MN looks to get said bands, but exactly where is uncertain. It is basically a "nowcast" watching the radar to see how this crazy little system evolves.

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    2. Plymouth it’s pretty interesting. The latest NAM has moved that narrow heavier band north east and reduced the totals. A large portion of the metro now shows under and inch. Rochester could see 5” or so but the latest models are confusing since that thin heavy band is reduced so much. Really interesting and I’m guessing some of the dynamics that Novak talked about last night haven’t come together. Novak made complete sense last night. We won’t know until Friday when it is over.

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  69. I know down here in Rochester they put us under a watch around noon and now three hours later its been upgraded to a warning.

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  70. My point forecast with the NWS for south minny has been downgraded to only an inch of snow now - total. Crazy after watching some of the model guidance and forecasts. We'll see what happens tomorrow, but if that forecast verifies, I'd call that a bust.

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    Replies
    1. It's amazing; about twenty minutes ago, yes, when you posted, Nathan W, NWS had about one inch predicted metro area. I saw it too. Now about a half hour later, they are back up to 2-4 inches. We are just going to have to wait and see what falls from the sky! Here's hoping........

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  71. I have a feeling this will be a bust for most if not all of southern MN. I think the dry air will cut off all accumulating snow sadly.

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  72. @ weathergeek and @Nathan W
    Those are not updated... you need to look on the right hand side, below the map and check the time of the last update... if it still says 10.47am it is not correct.
    For some reason the NWS website jumps for newest to less recent updates: for a second the airport showed the 3.13pm update and it said less than one inch.
    Now it is back to the 10.47am time with 2-4.
    No much hope for this storm (like any other for that matter) for the core metro area. Business as usual...

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  73. Ian Leonard just predicted 1-2 for the Metro with some in the Metro getting a zero

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  74. Well Ian Leonard once again confirms himself as the most accurate forecaster among the so-called 'expert'.
    But with all due respect, most of us "non-expert' posting on this blog for the past several days had predicted this.
    Big bust for Novak and his 5.2" at MSP, I have to say.

    I think that being at 1/3 of January with nothing in sight for the rest couple of weeks (of course it will warm up again after this expected cold spell just in time for the next surge of moisture), we nned to start watching for at least the potential of challenging the least snowy winter ever at 14.2".
    February are not snowy anymore, (0 inches last year if I am not mistaken) and March are now blow-torched into the mid 40s and so just rain...
    I think this winter could be the one...
    What do people think in this regard?

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    Replies
    1. Ian Leonard has been sand-bagging his snow forecast for days and not giving totals, so predicting 1-2" when the storm is on our doorstep is kind of like hitting a homerun off a tee.

      Real meteorologists analyze the data as it is presented, and for the past 5 days, this storm was aimed at the metro, and the data was presented with plenty of asterisks and red flags. If a meteorologist said "THere's a major snowstorm forecasted for the metro 5 days from now, but it will go south of us because they all do."...that would be pretty bush-league and irresponsible.

      I'm disappointed the metro isn't getting the snow totals forecasted days ago, but have had a lot of fun learning and tracking along the way. Thanks team!

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    2. Totally disagree with such assessment.
      What should be expected of meteorologists is accuracy and most importantly medium to long-term pattern recognition.
      Anything 5 days out does not mean a thing, it is a pure figment of models imagination.
      But if (paraphrasing you) a meteorologist were to say ‘ you may heard there is a big storm forecast 5 days for now, but please keep in mind that the pattern for the past few winters has been for these things to almost certainly shift south and therefore I do not believe it will be a big issue (again here pattern recognition based on his and her experience) that would not be at all irresponsible, but accurate and professional.

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  75. Regardless if we get snow or not in southern MN, model guidance has actually been pretty good with this storm system. Don't forget, medium range guidance showed a significant snow system 5 days ago for the Upper Midwest. That is verifying over ND & northwestern MN as we speak. I feel that is phenomenal.

    Now, there is no doubt that short term guidance may bust BIG TIME over so. MN & western WI, but all in all, not a total bust with this storm.

    I wish if people would realize how challenging it is to go against model QPF, especially when it consistently shows 6"+ in a given area. I would argue it is irresponsible to disregard this data & NOT say a thing or downplay it. What happens if it were to verify?

    I always like to look at red flags & this storm system certainly has them. Bill & I discussed a couple of them in our video, & I'm afraid that these flags are going to bust this storm over so. MN. The DRY air was always apparent on model guidance & that was acknowledged.

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  76. One other thing.

    I think it is hilarious that many people are calling this storm a bust when it hasn't even moved through yet. Remember, the same model guidances that were showing 12"+ of snow near the MSP metro just 24 hours ago are now showing little if any snow. THESE ARE THE SAME MODEL GUIDANCES THAT YOU WERE LAUGHING AT & DISREGARDING YESTERDAY!

    What makes you think their NO snow data today is correct? You don't trust them, right?

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    Replies
    1. Closer to the onset. The models can be accurate when it's on the doorstep, but not when it's in the Pacific.

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  77. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 10, 2018 at 8:58 PM

    So Navak is calling this storm prediction a crap shoot on his twitter account. Does that mean we still have a chance????? Bring it!!!!

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  78. No actual meteorologist is going to hedge like folks here want.

    Ain't happening. And it shouldn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. I think communicating uncertainty is important. That's why I'm a fan of probabilistic forecasts. The Capital Weather Gang does this as well as anyone in the business.

      Delete
    2. Bill, what I meant was, a meteorologist isn't going to say, "Well, snowlovers have been sad for a few years, so this particular storm will probably bust." Which is completely unscientific, but what some folks here seem to want.

      Agreed on the probabilistic forecasts.

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  79. Probabilistic forecast are available...
    http://www.weather.gov/mpx/winter
    I only wished they were better advertised by the NWS and adopted by other outlets as well

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    Replies
    1. Indeed! Would have been interesting to see what they had over the last few days.

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    2. MSP was at max 5” a couple of days ago. Then went to 4”, 3” yesterday and so on.

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  80. What happened??

    Once again the the foreign models cleaned the clocks of the American models. Starting Monday morning both the Global Gem and the ECMWF started reacting to lack of vorticity below 500mb and started cutting back on QPF amounts, and looking deeper on the Euro over at EuroWx,
    vorticity advection (commencement of twist in the atmosphere) was almost non existent, which would lead one to believe we have a weakening system as opposed that one that is getting stronger. As a amateur forecaster I have had my share of supreme busts, but this storm is reacting like I thought it should. I was way to chicken when I put out my forecast amounts last night as I was going with the lower end of the guidance instead of following my gut instincts and cutting those amounts in half.

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    Replies
    1. Randy, I'm not sure why you are so down on how model guidance handled this storm. Hell, I would say all guidance did a pretty darn good job up to this point.

      The only error was with the initial snow totals in the MSP metro on west with guidance runs a few days back. However, over the last 24 to 36 hours, guidance appears to be almost spot on.
      - Dry slot from MSP on west was captured.
      - Heavy snow band across southeast MN/western WI with a tight gradient on either side.
      - Tight spin @ mid-levels with disturbance pulling out of the Rockies & into the Plains.

      Seriously, what else can we expect from guidance?

      The big problem is that these tight gradients always seem to be occurring near or right over the MSP metro lately. Because of this, you get millions of more ticked off people than in other parts of the state. Plus, I don't believe people understand how challenging 4casting can be.

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    2. Novak Weather. Thanks for your comments, constructive criticism is always welcome, and differences in opinions without question lead to learning opportunities.

      In my defense however, I was trying to communicate with the readers of this blog that certain models out preformed others in their QPF forecasts. The two most accurate from Monday morning forward in depicting how the lower levels would reflect what was happening above were without question the EMCWF and the Global Gem.

      Delete
  81. Randy should be included in the videos! Love his takes.

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  82. With some of the predictions out there, this was probably the biggest bust in several years. 8-10"? Not even remotely close.

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  83. Well NWS did say "snow likely", they got something right.....it snowed!

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    Replies
    1. Bob in snowlessvilleJanuary 11, 2018 at 8:03 AM

      Yes, technically it snowed. The NWS gets an "F" as does everyone else, both local and national outlets, except for maybe randyinchamplin, who is the amateur! As of Monday the NWS was calling for a 100% chance of heavy snow in the metro. How did that work out? This "storm" ended up giving us less than those weak clippers last month that were dropping a whopping dusting to half inch. I now have lots of bare ground in my yard in the west metro with no hope of any meaningful snow in sight. To add insult to injury, another big warmup is coming in about a week. That should pretty much eliminate all snowcover, just leaving behind small piles. A lack of snowcover will in turn make it more conducive to getting warmer. None of that is anyone's fault. That's nature. The forecasting issue is another story. If any of us were this bad at our jobs, we would be summarily fired!!

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    2. NO I'm sorry. The NWS and Noval certainly gets and F, but not everybody else. We are all spot on.
      Most of us 'non-expert' have been predicting that this would happen, by simply pointing out that the pattern of the last few years of pseudo-storms concocted by models 4-5 days ahead, would punctually disintegrate the day of the eventwould repeat itself (as common sense and basic knowledge of physics would dictate).
      Of course we have been ridiculed by the so-called experts which don't like the idea that simple common sense and pattern recognition is a much more accurate predictor that their supposed 'experience' in interpreting the model.
      The most important law of meteorology (and physics in general): the path of least resistance is the one that usually verifies, which in weather means a repetition of the previous patterns.
      So an F to the experts (save Randy, Paul Huttner and Ian Leonard) for completely busting this an A to everyone else for nailing this.

      Delete
    3. Agree with the idea that some forecasters did well here. I didn't see Leonard, but followed this blog and Huttner in the days leading up to the storm. He emphasized high uncertainty, then put out 1 to 3 inches for metro about 24 hours ahead of snow with heavier snows north and south. I felt like that was solid info.

      Sometimes it seems like we bash our local meteorologists for sport. Sometimes they deserve it. We should be mindful about which is which.

      Delete
  84. @Randyinchamplin are you open to doing videos with Bill? and @Bill are you willing to do videos with Randy if we actually get another "storm" opportunity? I like your takes Randy.

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  85. It would be wonderful to have Randy on board!

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  86. Well, the NWS announced earlier this week they would start grading themeselves on winter storms forecasting.
    I guess they are not starting well! :)

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  87. Normally I don't let comments get to me, but some of these this morning are unfounded & simply not true.

    The screaming message has always been a potential bust in snow totals from MSP on west & significant snow east of the metro potentially including Scott, Dakota, Washington, etc. I also expected a narrow heavy strip of snow over southeastern MN stretching northeast into western WI.

    Meanwhile, it was stated many times that travel would be challenging across much of MN, including the MSP metro today due to this storm (ice, snow, dropping temps, flash freeze, etc.)

    How is this incorrect? Granted, with all these tight snow gradients, the location of the snow bands may be off a touch, but all in all, this looks like a solid 4cast. Plus, this was all predicted days ago!

    The storm hasn't even come close to ending yet & we've got anonymous posters saying what has happened. Seriously. Leave your bashing comments for after a storm so that we can truly gauge the results.

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    Replies
    1. I'm going to stick up for the meteorologists too. Anon@8:20am could not be more wrong.

      But to call actual meteorologists "so called experts", when their job is to forecast weather for an entire region (and not your house), is just plain disrespectful and ignorant. Meteorologists study the science for years, and they shouldn’t abandon the science and use your "simple common sense and pattern recognition". That would be like asking a doctor to forget their 8 years of schooling and 4 years of residency and just diagnose based on what the last 10 patients had.

      The mets don't get an F for this storm. They called it out 5+ days ago with the information they had. Novak in particular, if you actually watch his videos this week, you’ll see he did predict snow, and lots of it for some areas (and he was very open with the red flags that he saw with the dry slot, low level temps above freezing, etc). And low and behold, there was a snow event in the area where they predicted. Every met is different too. Some rely more on American models, some put more weight in the Euro and global models. Some like to provide snow/rain totals 4-5 days out, while some do it while the precip is flying.

      My point is, please don’t attack meteorologists and the science they are passionate about, ESPECIALLY on a damn weather blog that you could simply stop reading and posting comments to. I love this site. And I love weather. And I love getting as many data points and perspectives as I can when a weather system is marching in. And I love using all of those perspectives to form my own view of what will happen. It sounds like almost everyone on this site does that, but please don’t blame the meteorologist when you don’t like the outcome of the weather. They’re just doing what they love and sharing it with us (and they don’t have to).

      Delete
    2. Well said @JAW. I'll be the first to admit as a snowlover this winter thus far has been very disappointing but it's not Novaks fault or the NWS's fault or anybody else's, they do their best and like JAW said there are many styles.
      At least it's snowing again and it's all white in my yard again!

      Delete
    3. Bla bla bla...
      continue to spin it guys...

      Delete
  88. Schools were canceled down here do to the very icy conditions.

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  89. It is like "If it didn't happen in the MSP metro, it didn't happen anywhere". Seriously.

    Blizzard over ND/northwest MN. Significant snow across no. MN. Schools canceled over southeastern MN.....but, no storm I guess.

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    Replies
    1. Weather is local Mr Novak.
      So with all due respect for people in the MSP metro "if it doesn't happen there" it means no storm.
      Otherwise... I mean there is always a storm going on somewhere.
      As a matter of fact there are an average of 2,000 storms taking place around the earth at any given moment, as I am sure you are aware.
      Seriously, stop spinning this.

      Delete
    2. Novak, I also agree that you do a nice job of explaining things for us. To be fair, I haven't heard anyone suggest that the storm did not occur in NW MN/ND, etc. Unless I have missed something, people who are complaining are complaining about the metro. At any rate, I am looking at the radar right now and seeing snow intensifying from the southwest and moving towards the metro. It appears that the entire core metro might be engulfed in moderate snow very soon. That's not good for me, because I live north and west of downtown, but there's always hope. Hey everybody, as Novak said, let's wait until this event is over before getting too upset and providing final comments. Many of us just might be pleasantly surprised!

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    3. Novak, I will take it a step further. For a lot of people in MSP, if it didn't happen "in the loop," it didn't happen. I live out by NWS, and there are times we get a significant storm and the airport doesn't. Those inside the loop claim it missed the metro, while those of us just a few miles from where MSP weather is forecasted are shoveling and dealing with school delays.

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  90. Don't let the comments get to you, Novak. You do a good job -- we appreciate it. I'm a snow-hater, but the explanations in your videos are always interesting and informative. I always learn something.

    I do think you're overestimating the number of ticked-off people though :)

    Anybody irate with the forecasters is acting like a child. Get a grip!

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  91. If people can't put a name to their criticism just ignore it. It gives a shield to trolls who are by and far irrelevant.

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  92. Don't look now but there's moderate to heavy snow occurring over the seven county metro right know. It may not accumulate to forecasted totals but it is snowing at a pretty good clip and will for two-three, or more, hours. Where are all the haters now? Good luck driving home during evening rush hour in the "busted forecast".

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  93. With all due respect, I don't see any haters on this blog.
    Just pointing out that if you predicted 5+ inches and you get 1, 1.5 is a bust does not make someone a hater.
    The forecast is not a bust because it does not snow. The forecast is a bust everytime the forecast total considerably differs from the actual.
    After all this is a blog that was conceived to measure and discuss the accuracy of forecasts and different takes on it.
    Calling haters those who simply point out the fact for the metro this storm underperfomed from what was mentioned 36 hours ago is disrespectful.
    You should know better.

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    Replies
    1. I think the focus was more on the people discounting the difficulty of forecasting and what goes into it.

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    2. @Anon @ 1:08

      It's really not even that. What happened is that a bunch of people got their hopes up. They wouldn't be complaining about the forecast if we'd gotten MORE snow than predicted.

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    3. I agree that many people got their hopes up and were then disappointed. My question is what factors came into play for these people to get their hopes up in the first place? What was said and/or done to make them hopeful for a good snowstorm? I think that is the root of much of this discord.

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    4. I think the issue is people investing too much into models especially any outside of 24 hours. USUALLY, this storm being an exception, models are decent less than 24 hours out. The issues come when people get their hopes up before this period, sometimes even before the system makes landfall. At that period, focus should be on the meteorological trends like jet structures, 850's etc.. Much like how Novak does his videos. Looking at model amounts anywhere outside a small window (and believing them) is foolish. This is just how I think when I watch each new model run come in.

      Delete
  94. Wow, I'm not quite certain how I should respond to those of you who have requested than I should be included in the videos.

    First of all I am very humbled that said request's have been made. However at this time it really isn't practical as my monitor does not have a camera. In addition, I often leave the house by 9am and don't return until about 10pm. To get together with Bill and Tom on an agreed time would be almost impossible. Maybe in about 3 years as I get to retirement age.

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  95. A couple of things I have noticed with this system (and actually a few before this)...
    The mean NWS probabilistic forecasts for this event were approximately 5" 3 days out, decreasing to 3" then 2" then less than an inch the evening before (MSP we are talking).
    In the end MSP got 2.4" I believe (last update I saw).
    So it seems like models first overpredict totals, but then they also seem to overcorrect the day before and end up underpredicting the actual total.
    The amount of snow that fell was ultimately lower than what was forecast 2-3 days before, but considerably higher (more than twice!) what the models wereprinting the night before, or the morning of.
    As I said, I recollect this happening for a few previous storms as well in recent events but not as much in the past.
    So are models becoming more unstable?
    Is it because the pattern we are in is intrinsically more complex?
    I would love to hear what people's thoughts are...

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  96. There happens to be a couple of models that are showing a decent storm in about 8 days time. The trough structures from 500mb on down look much better than was presented with this last storm. However it is way to far out to get excited, with the pattern this year I'd give it a 2 in 10 chance of developing.

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    Replies
    1. Funny you mention this. There is an amateur on a forum I follow that has been sniffing at something in that period for quite a while. I believe he is using the tools of the LRC pattern to try and make a guess on when some conditions might come together. Pretty neat stuff.

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    2. Stormgeek, is that amateur named Andrew over at weathercentre? If so he is much more knowledgeable than I at long range solutions. With him going off to college I didn't think he was posting much, haven't looked at his web site in some time.

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  97. Sunday’s clipper more snow predicted then the supperstorm this week. Not a word mentioned. Huh? Clippers are uncool? No video?

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  98. True, 'Clippers' are NOT sexy because their snow totals are usually pretty easy to predict. It is rare for a 'Clipper' to drop more than 4"+ of snow. So, it is a pretty safe bet to say 1"-3" or 2"-4" of snow. As long as you know the surface low track, 'Clippers' are simple to diagnose.

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  99. Just going to put it out there... i'm liking what the Euro model shows for next weekend.

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  100. Another storm in the extended. Another fun week ahead. Hopefully with a better ending! Maybe last night's Minneapolis Miracle can continue into the storm next week.

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    Replies
    1. As much as I'd love a big snowstorm, I don't want it hitting when thousands of people are trying to get to football gatherings.

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  101. Plymouth Weather LoverJanuary 15, 2018 at 4:40 PM

    I just need to say that I LOVED the snow yesterday. It came down at a good clip, added up nicely, and truly made it look like winter all over the place. Bring more of those and we will have a winter to remember. Add a few big storms into the mix and that would be fun. Bring all of that!!

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  102. I feel kinda of torn like @AB stated earlier, I would like me some ol' fashion snowstorm but on such a very important sports gathering day with Vikings I could see a large impact even on a Sunday. But anyhow I would root for the snowstorm....besides Vikings are 1-0 on Sunday's when it snows these playoffs.
    @PWL I agree it finally looks like winter out there...2" on Thursday and 3" yesterday did the trick!
    I'm rooting for the EURO to deliver the snow goods this weekend!!
    @Bill I'm thinking a new thread maybe needed here shortly if the EURO model continues hinting at a snowstorm this weekend....in honor of Prince and the Vikings....it could be called PURPLE SNOW?

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  103. There is no doubt in my mind the Upper Midwest will be hit with a snowstorm Sunday into Monday. The 00Z EURO drops over a foot of snow over a broad area including the metro. The 06Z GFS has a band of 6-10" across southern MN including the metro. Which at a distance a lot of storms look good, problem with the metro is as we get closer to the event either storm fizzles or goes another direction, so the fact that the models are showing heavy snows for MSP currently is not a good sign! We wait and see what Mother Nature decides to do.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sam! I would just like to point out that I think your post is the PERFECT post for this forum, and I hope we get 10 more like it from the other meteorologists. It has the right formula:

      Euro says X + GFS says Y + Acknowledgement of historical trends + Your gut/brain interpretation = "We wait and see what Mother Nature decides to do."

      It's great! Thank you!

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    2. Last night I was impressed to hear Belinda Jensen say that although the models are hinting at snow, the trend this year has been for cold air to push storms south and east. Recognizing the reality of the season versus just relying on models is so important! That's not to say the trend won't change, but at least acknowledging there is a trend is important.

      Delete
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