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Monday, March 10

BEWARE OF MODEL WATCHING



Written By:  Scott Hetsko

Of course with the internet and ease of access to weather data and modeling, most of you know and see more now than ever.  That can be a double edged sword because just looking at output from model data is not forecasting.  How many bloggers actually look at anything other than surface precipitation forecasts?  What about model bias?  But the most important intangible is experience.  In January we had computer models spitting out 12-20" snow totals 36 hours before a storm only to end up with a more modest 6-10" total.  I must use history as part of my forecasting pie.

The system will have a favorable track for us but the models we are all looking at won't be reliable until that storm gets over the Rockies.  Once I see tomorrow mornings data will I be more confident in posting more specific numbers.  I try to have my team keep to a 24 hour window in posting specific snow numbers.  Until then I feel it's irresponsible to issue a snow forecast and then have to dial back or enhance the numbers.  Above I did post where it's most likely that heavier snow will fall so stay tuned!!!



72 comments:

  1. Thanks Scott for posting the above. It does help. On the blog, especially today the numbers which have been posted are all over the map from 5-6 inches to 24+. Plus the one point which all need to keep in mind is that total is usually for over a period of time, and not just in one afternoon or overnight. Thanks again for being the voice of reason. Do you still see the heavest snow falling over the Finger Lakes/Souther Tier?

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  2. Winter storm warning out for 10-14 inches of snow

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  3. My big question is how bad will the wind and visibility be?
    Ray

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  4. Ray stay out of Hamlin if you are worried about visibility. With 30 mph north winds and heavy snow, visibility will be ZERO in north Hamlin.

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    1. HP,
      I'll stay down home in Brockport. Just out of curiosity what is the dividing line, north of 18?
      Ray

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    2. Brickschool house rd North. Wide open fields in north Hamlin.

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  5. This makes me sick... Its time for spring and you all know im a snow lover. As long as SUnday is ok im off to Florida till APril, cant take it no more! lol With the winds, Blizzard watches, monroe, wayne county are not out of the question

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    1. I envy you, this is hell.

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  6. 8-12. Nothing huge, but a nice mid-sized storm. Nothing we cannot handle.

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  7. CCCC no response think Scott you asking you some of his questions? What do you look at more than just superficial stuff?

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  8. CCCC already spoke about model bias earlier. I think he thinks about a lot of the same things as Scott. But Scott has a lot more experience.

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  9. This is far and away Scott's BEST BLOG POST EVER! All these so called "experts" on this blog think they know it all. Some of you act like trained meteorologists the way you gawk and get giddy over precipitation maps from 10 different models. There's a reason the REAL experts have a degree in this field. They know much more than all of you. So please stop jumping down their throats anytime a storm is near with your so called expertise from thinking you know how to read a weather model. Step away from the precipitation maps and go take a cold shower...Kudos to Scott!!

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    1. I don't think anyone is saying they are an expert. Not even CCCC.

      It's exciting when there is a snowstorm. The models are fun to hear about. I don't know much about them. I just find the discussions interesting. I think of it like sports fans discussing plays. Some fans really do know a lot more than most fans. That doesn't make them Bill Bellicheck.

      That said. I did get great enjoyment from Scott laying the smack down. He's a professional so he rarely says anything. But I understand him shaking his head at the bloggers.

      At the end of the day, he's the only one that has any consequences for his forecast. The rest of us are basically fans wagering on the game.

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  10. I literally just said this on the last thread that we should all listen to Scott as he has experience, case studies, etc... I can only speak for myself, but don't I think CCCC and others claim to be experts. Simply just look at what we have available and defer everything to the News 8 Team. Although I must say, to take a friendly shot at Scott, he said not too long ago that he was pretty sure this storm would have no impact on our area... :p

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    1. You are correct with that statement Weatherguy!

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  11. That is what a blog is Anon 5:01 moron. It is about having fun and learning. We all know we are not trained meteorologists but we enjoy looking at things and learning. The experts have called at least 8 and maybe up to 12 inches now. That could change either way and we know that. Sometimes the models are accurate too so maybe we do get 14-18 inches who knows only time will tell. Please put your name on a ridiculous post if you want anyone to care. If Scott's post was best ever yours was the worst idiot!

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    1. You should be careful about using words like "moron" and "idiot" when you spout out storm totals while probably reading weather charts upside down.

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    2. Ok Mr. Anon 6:32 what is your prediction for storm totals? Come on Mr. Mouth here is your chance.

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    3. I don't make any predictions because I don't pretend I know how. Big difference between you and me. What's the "B" stand for? I will make a prediction about that ... bozo.

      Mean Mr. Mouth.

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    4. Yes you do not know that is why you post as Anonymous aka Coward. The B does not stand for bozo but rather something you probably do not have- hint you also throw them through a basket.

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  12. lol @ blog drama. get a grip people jeez ,_,

    Just when I thought the NAM couldn't get any zanier, it goes and drops 2 feet of snow on Toronto. SREFs give us anything from a few inches to almost 40 inches. Mean is 16 inches. The NAM brings the rain/snow line uncomfortably close, but the cluster of more southerly model tracks provides reassurance. Plus it's the NAM, which has a notorious NW/amped bias.

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  13. What are people feelings whether this will be fast moving storm, meaning that come Wednesday evening it will have moved out of the area? Or will it linger into Thursday. No one was mentioend this, and I was just wondering.

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    1. This bit from the NWS discussion should help answer your question:

      "THE LOW WILL TRACK ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT...BUT WITH THE UPPER LOW STILL TRAILING THE SURFACE LOW...AND A COLD NORTHERLY FLOW...LAKE ENHANCED SNOW WILL LINGER SOUTH OF LAKE ONTARIO MUCH OF THE NIGHT. THERE ALSO WILL BE NORTHERLY WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND WEDNESDAY EVENING WHICH WILL RESULT IN AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. AS A RESULT...DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS WILL LINGER EVEN AFTER THE HEAVIEST SNOW TAPERS OFF."

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  14. Probability of schools cancelling?

    Probability of regretting not cancelling?

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    1. Time will tell but timing will be key for Wednesday. You have to not only get them there but make sure they can get home safely. Thursday could be tough with winds and low air temperatures too. WIND CHILLS COULD BE BELOW ZERO. This with 8 inches and if it is snowing a bit will be tough conditions.

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  15. Why is Scott talking about mixing issues initially? Never heard any talk of this possibility until now?

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    1. It would appear that the initial wave of light precipitation will occur in a mild enough environment to produce a light mix. The NWS forecast mentions the same thing, but as far as I can see from various forecasts and models it won't impact snowfall totals too much. That would only happen if the mix line reached us during the main storm.

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  16. I want to reiterate something I've mentioned before, but I feel it's prudent to do it again here. When we bloggers put out snowfall numbers and other kinds of projections we aren't doing it with the expectation that people will heed them seriously. We're just having a little fun dabbling in toy weather, that's all. The real forecasting should always be left to the professionals, and it should be their forecasts that people hinge their plans and expectations on. The rest of us are mere mortals with a passion for weather that is borderline obsessive in some cases (see: that weirdo with four girl names). That's not to say there aren't knowledgeable people here with useful and informative things to say, just that the biggest weighting by far should be placed into professional opinions. So when a regular schmuck like me comes here and says they're expecting X amount of snow, it isn't meant to be a substitute for a finely crafted professional forecast. Just the inner geek emerging to have a little fun.

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  17. Yes ok inner geek ha ha 18z GFS still gives us 14-16 inch range and more south than NAM. NAM scaring me a bit bc it has been pretty accurate inside 36 hours and it keeps moving north.

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    1. The NAM is kind of a weird model to deal with. There are certain situations where it shines (such as clippers and frontal systems), and then there are others where it completely craps the bed (most other stuff). This looks like a typical NAM progression to me: start with something sensible, trend ridiculously far NW and juiced then come back down to earth with less than a day to go. Seen it way too many times with storms of this nature to give the NAM any stock, and the globals staying further south makes it even more sketchy. If I were a betting man I would put substantial money on the NAM beginning to come to its senses by 12z tomorrow.

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  18. CCCC what time are the NAM runs daily? Also do find it weird that John's post was much more aggressive than Scott. John made it sound like this is going to be a big one but guess that is called difference in experience.

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    1. I honestly don't keep track of specific NAM run times, so just assume the run will be a good deal through by 5am/pm for 00z and 12z, and 11am/pm for 06z and 18z. Scott is probably exercising more patience in this situation than John, which would absolutely be an experience thing.

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  19. Forecasts from various outlets so far:

    NWS: 10-14 inches
    Channel 8: 8+ inches (someone else can refine that if it changed, didn't catch the forecast)
    Channel 10: 8-12 inches
    Channel 13: possibly over a foot
    TWC: 11-17 inches
    Wunderground: 11-17 inches (same parent company as TWC though so similarities are to be expected)
    Accuweather: 6-10 inches

    So it seems we have some differences of opinion among the various experts and automated crap app forecasts.

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  20. Apparently I was wrong earlier when I stated that this entire thing had been sampled. There is still one lonely little shortwave way up in Canada that needs to be sampled by the RAOB network before all of these "differences of opinion" are resolved. That should occur by 12z tomorrow.

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  21. Another question CCCC with the temps dropping throughout the storm to the 20s then teens won't the ratios be higher? Plus seems to be a little debate between RMA and KW one thinks a real possibility of lake enhancement while other says with lake being iced over on east side not sure there will a lake enhancement.

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    1. Ratios should increase as the storm wears on. As for the ice coverage, it looks like it is largely broken ice, and some of it may be slush ice which could easily break up and create larger open patches in a strong wind. One thing Lake Erie has demonstrated is that lake enhancement can still occur even with solid ice coverage, so while it may be limited by the ice it may also still boost totals for the lakeshore counties. One thing to watch for after sunset is a turn to a more NNW wind vector, which would displace the main fetch away from the bulk of the ice coverage. It's a tricky issue that could really go either way, but I'm hedging my bets on at least limited lake enhancement.

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  22. Well we will have to see what the models bring tonight and 12z runs tomorrow. But at least it sounds like at least 8 inches for WNY is a good bet. We will go from there. Keep us updated CCCC if you are able to do so.

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  23. Chances are I'm going to be out enjoying the storm any chance I get during Wednesday, so don't expect to hear much from me that day.

    It would seem after browsing through some satellite photos of Lake Ontario that a lot of the ice that was present directly north of us has either melted away or been shoved further east. Tough to tell for sure with the amount of cloud cover though. Bear in mind that we had stiff westerly winds last night, which would cause more of the ice to bunch up at the east end of the lake and create more open water directly north of us. If that is the case, and with a NNE wind slowly backing to NNW, then the case for lake enhancement would be a good deal stronger than the case against.

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    1. No I am talking your opinion of the models tonight and tomorrow? Also KW did say the east end of the lake iced over so I agree places north of thruway could get lake enhanced.

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    2. I won't be around much until later tonight, but tomorrow I'll have some time for sure. One more thing to consider is that tomorrow's high temps at Lake Ontario's latitude will be in the upper 30s to low 40s. That could help create a touch more open water. I'm really hoping for some large breaks in the cloud cover so we can get a better look at the east end of the lake.

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  24. CCCC just want to go on the record that if track stays pretty favorable for us I think this storm is going to be bigger than all are letting on. I think it could be amped up and have a great deal of precipitation but that is just a feeling I have because it is going to pat tribute to the 93 Superstorm 21 years later. Ha ha

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  25. This will not be a blockbuster storm by any means but 8-10 inches Is a good sized medium storm. Nothing that we cannot handle. We will see if it pushes over the 100" mark.

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  26. I love this blog. I usually just lurk, mainly because I have no idea how to predict weather. I use this place to get the most accurate totals and time frame of the storms that we get...hopefully this is the last one of the season.

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    1. May not be Gilbert but we can put that on the back burner until Friday.

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  27. Time for people to start picking a number. How much you think we'll get?

    (click on my name to take you directly to the poll)

    http://poll.pollcode.com/35233285

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  28. Snowdog if you start thinking positive maybe by Thursday afternoon totals will be 14-18 inches.

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  29. Check some models today minimum 10 inches folks. As for total snowfall, that could vary by location.

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  30. Our local met Joe Veres here in southern tier has us in 2-5' and Rochester metro area in 5-10'....just thought I'd share!

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  31. I would like to point out that earlier this season a MUCH weaker storm tracked south of us out of the Ohio valley with similar cold air to work with. The NAM was the only model to handle the lake enhancement it dropped 20 inches of snow in many places north. I don't think the will be that type of lake enhancement, but much more synoptic help this time around. I don't think the NAM will verify, however I think this storm has the POTENTIAL to be a MUCH bigger deal than is being forecasted.

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  32. How much must it suck to live somewhere you only get to have one of these Storm watches once or twice a winter. While it doesn't always end the way we want. We've had at least half a dozen or more of these watches. No whoppers but we've had at least four 'decent storms' this winter.

    We miss out often enough when the moisture is SE, but at least we don't usually lose out because of mixing or worse rain.

    I think we should appreciate what we do have. No matter how much we get out of this one.

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  33. For anyone how thinks this storm will be NBD for the area. I suggest you hop in your vehicle and drive through the North end of Hamlin Wednesday evening. Then get back to me tell me how you made out, that is if you find your way back to civilization before Friday.

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    1. Easy with the beer muscles HP. Driving a plow doesn't make you tough, get a real job LOL.
      You are a true Ford Tough!!

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    2. HP that was not me it is the coward Anon who likes to troll because he is a coward. The real B

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  34. Snowdog, Blizzard March of 1999 was forecasted to be a medium sized storm. The totals where forecasted to be 8-12, blizzard warning were not forecast until that morning. I remember it well because I was a student at Brockport college taking weather forecasting 201 trying to drive to class never made it. It was the last time the roads were plugged in Hamlin. I am not saying we will have a blizzard in WNY Wednesday but I have learned YOU NEVER KNOW FOR SURE, until the day after.

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  35. There will be a Blizzard in the Flower City within the next 2 days. Mark it down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Blizzard Dude, I hope you are right!
      Ray

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    2. NOT a blizzard forecast, just a good storm with potential.

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  36. B,
    Just cant stand the saying NBD. The amount of impact is all based on perspective, that is all I was implying. NBD in the city looks a lot different in open country that is all.

    BTW, I don't drink much, I am the exception to the highway worker red neck truck driver you are picturing , LOL.

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    1. I get'cha and I was just teasin man, no big deal

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  37. So do I cut my trip short a day and fly home tomorrow? I wish I could talk to future me and see what I should do!!

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  38. Depends. How much do you like the weather where you are now?

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  39. Track seems to be wavering with each set of data. Still don't think we'll know till tomorrow at best. If we come away with 1-2ft, I will dutch-oven myself all day Thursday! Keep the faith people.

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    1. Dutch oven?? That's pretty sick snowdog......

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    2. What the heck is a dutch-oven??

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    3. Fart in bed then pull the covers over your trapping the fart gasses in, try it its great.

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    4. ^ Yes!! My favorite thing to do when I'm snowed in haha...It is intense and sensual, honestly try it!

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  40. Snowluver,

    If I where you, and you love the snow as much as your title implies, fly home tomorrow. I would not want to miss a shot at a good storm even if I where on vacation.

    I would also NEVER listen a highway worker who enjoys blogging about the snow almost as much as plowing it EVEN in mid March.

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    1. Lol thanks!! I don't want to miss it OR be stranded in Florida. I guess I'll decide in the morning.

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  41. The NAM is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get. 0z says well over a foot of snow with sleet coming ever so close. Smh...

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  42. Yes NAM moving north again and crazy amounts? Confused because thought NAM was best short term model? Getting weird now hope we do not get shafted.

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  43. The one thing the NAM also shows besides for the far north track is the trend of earlier strengthening. 00z even quicker strengthening than earlier runs. If the GFS also continues with this increasing strength trend, 12' could be the rule not an exception. I will have to wait to see in the morning.

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