Hi All! I’m a meteorologist and forecast for local areas on a daily basis. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and if I’ve learned one thing it’s… some days are harder than others.
Making a days forecast starts with yesterday’s weather, current observations, then model guidance. It might sound easy, but actually it’s tricky… especially in the winter months when the weather varies more than other seasons and you’re dealing with the ever so grateful rain/snow line (sarcasm).
The rain/snow line can make or break your forecast. It can either bring in more snow if the colder air sticks around or it can change over faster to rain and decrease the expected snow totals. And this can create a bead of sweat dripping down your face when snow begins to fall and you’re just praying the forecast pans out.
Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.
Just this winter alone, one storm in particular, never changed over to rain and it brought a few inches of snow to an area where there was just supposed to be a dusting. And to top it off the QPF (liquid equivalent) was closer to a 30:1 ratio instead of 10:1 for snow… increasing those totals once again. This was because it was much colder in the atmosphere.
This made it a tricky forecast and caused some problems with the public.
Besides snow, temperatures are also difficult. Yes, we strive to get 65 degrees when we say 65 degrees, and most of the time the actual high temperature is within 1-3 degrees of that. And that’s considered a good forecast, but what about those days when it’s nowhere near what was expected?
Well, this also happens. This is when meteorologists rely on models. And sometimes the models don’t have a good grasp on temperatures.
There may be more cloud cover developing, or the winds may have changed directions, or the forecast low was a bit to low.
Many more changes in the atmosphere may have altered the forecast. After all, a forecast model is a forecast… it isn’t meant to be perfect, but to just grasp a really good idea on what could happen in that forecaste area.
Don’t get me wrong a model is changed frequently to make it better and that is the goal… to get as perfect as we can… but some things are just unpredictable when it comes to weather… it changes every second… making forecasting hard.
Not every weather forecast will be perfect, yes we want it to be, but it probably won’t pan out that way every day of the year. It becomes tricky when a big weather phenomenon takes over and we want to get it right because we know this does have an impact on your life.