Grading my Winter Storm Forecast: 2/15/2016

As you know I keep very detailed records of my forecasts and like with our last winter storm I like to grade my work. This is so I can learn from mistakes and find ways to do better the next time. So let’s quickly recap yesterday’s storm and give me some grades.

Snow Accumulations: 93% A-

Hard to be too upset with the placement of our snow and sleet totals. We were on the low end of our totals in the mountains but within the range. For the Piedmont, we were on the low end as well as most areas saw barely a trace. Considering this is the hardest part of the forecast I’d give us an A-. Considering we had this placement as far back as Friday even makes me happier with the snowfall forecast.


Ice Accumulations: B+ 88%

Again here I am very happy with the placement and totals for the most part. Though feel like we missed the higher amounts where the CAD(Cold Air Damming) held on longer(we’ll get into that later) across the foothills. Other than that the placement and emphasis on ice over snow with this storm we did very well. We also had a pretty good forecast as early as Friday.


Timing: C- to D+ 60%

This was the biggest bust of this forecast we missed the timing for the lower half of the viewing area(Charlotte Metro) by about 6 hours. I also missed the length of freezing rain for the lower half of the viewing area by an additional 6 hours. Meaning our evening commute was the main trouble versus the morning commute. For the northern half of the viewing are we did much better. It started on time and lasted about as long as expected. The one exception was the ice lingering well into the overnight when I thought it would end by midnight. CAD always last longer even when you think it will last longer.


Communication: A- 95%

I felt like we did a good job of communicating the threats correctly. We emphasized this was going to be an ice and travel issue and larger impacts north or along I-40 and not a snow storm. Though I had to battle a ton of misinformation being spread by a few blogs and even the local paper the Charlotte Observer. I even had to go a little rant about the fake 5″ snowfall forecast last Thursday to try and dispell that rumor.   I even got blamed as predicted for not getting 5′ on my Facebook page. Even though neither I or anyone else forecasted 5″ for Charlotte. We still need to work on communicating these events. People still are going to bad sources for weather information and then attributing that information to everyone. Apps are hurting here as well.




We can do better but so far for the two winter storm this winter we have done solid work. These are the hardest events to forecast  but also event you can always learn from and get better.