Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Another Storm That Just...Wasn’t 

7:00 PM EST 3/6 (Mid-Atlantic Winter Stormcast Director Zach Fasnacht)

Today, many meteorologists, Foot’s included, were wrong on their forecasts as a major winter snowstorm turned into no more than a rain and snow mix for most areas. Although some places did receive decent snow accumulations today, many other regions, including areas of our highest readership in Baltimore and Washington D.C., this storm was a major bust. The Winter Storm Warnings that were issued, disappeared quietly and some  students were making mud angels in puddles rather than snow angels.

SO WHAT WENT WRONG? Going into this storm some of us worried that an easterly flow could keep things too warm, but the models disagreed and so we put a little too much faith in the models in predicting the precipitation type. 

  • It turned out that a mixture of cloud cover Tuesday night and an easterly flow kept surface temperatures too warm for snow in many places. Other areas saw snow, but due to the lack of intensity it did not accumulate as the high sun angle this time of year wreaks havoc on accumulation. 
  • Without the cold air in place or heavy precipitation, we lacked the ingredients to create a widespread major snowstorm. When making our forecast we outlined some of the factors that could affect it, but in the long run we did not assess this as much as needed and they came back to beat us:     (

LIFE LESSONS Without making any excuses for the forecast, meteorology is still an imperfect science. Many of us at Foot’s are currently studying in college to improve the science whether through computer modeling, atmospheric science research, or other related fields of study. 

Unfortunately, despite that dozens of team members collaborated for hours on end in this this storm, the forecast ended up wrong. We aim to continue earning your trust and readership, and hope you will not turn away from our authentic local weather source due to this one event. Earning your loyalty is key for us, as we seek to always put our best Foot forward trying to improve and provide you with the best forecast possible. 

Enjoy the rest of your week and hint hint, some warmer weather could make some smiling faces this weekend!

Yours Truly,
Winter Stormcast Team
(Director Zachary F., Advisor Rich F., Meteorologist Alex D., Michael M., Connor M., Jason M., Nikki B., Greg J., Dakota S.)


BioPat said...

Why apologize, it's science and it's dynamic - so be it!

NeedaSnowday said...

Agreed BP....

ravensbbr said...

BP, right on.

Sad to see what an entitled society of blamers we have become on weather discussion boards, FB and in general. How long until some idiot sues a weather forecaster for not calling for 72 and sunny on their wedding day six months from now?

Again, thanks to the FF crew, Andy, etc. for giving it their best shot and then realizing how and where it ended up going sideways. Weather is never in our control.

ravensbbr said...

Just check around, you don't see AccuWeather, TWC, etc. being intellectually honest enough to offer mea culpas.

Props, FF. Telling me what went wrong earns more respect in my opinion than pretending you called it like this all along even as it changes.

Eucalyptus1 said...

We follow you and will continue....accurate more than any other source! Keep up the excellent work

Unknown said...

How very sad. Im 14 and I've been missing snow SO much since the blizzards of 2009-2010. I finally thought this was it. This is where we would break through the barrier, get some snow in here. But alas, the storm just didnt cooperate, and i got rain. I am almost certain there will be no more chances for snow here, but I'm looking foreward to next winter. Im a huge weather fan, and each season brings different excitements. In the summer, it's those big thunderstorms after a hot day. In the fall, its the beautifully colored leaves and brisk, crisp air. in the winter, its the snow that brings so much excitement into people's hearts. and in the spring, its those wild rainstorms that bring about new flowers. This country is a great place to live, and even though this winter didn't ome through, the warmth of spring is on its way.

Unknown said...

I love following winter storms and this one had all of the excitement to go with it. The thing that really had me baffled was every forecast I looked at (and I look at a ton of them) was calling for the same thing. Around I-895 there was at least a consensus of 4-7 inches. I thought it was so strange how this could happen yesterday when it was quite warm yesterday and even last night. But I never went to school for this stuff as it's just an interest of mine.

First, I really appreciate an admission of a missed forecast and I know it just happens sometimes. Second, I'm wondering how many forecasters are making independent forecasts and not relying upon nws and accuweather. I could swear all of the local stations would not make accumulation estimates until the big boys released theirs. Perhaps that is cynical. I enjoy this blog - keep up the great work!

Kathi said...

You all do a fantastic job and will continue to be number one in my book! I always go to FF first whenever we are having a weather event!