Martinsville Weather - Winter Storm Forecast Review for Sat 02/11/06
Long Range Forecast: My long range forecast was the worst part of this snowstorm. Computer models just started showing it all of a sudden late Wednesday, then I added it to my forecast Thursday morning. But, at that time I thought it was going to primarily be a rain event. It wasn't until Friday morning that I started predicting a fairly decent snowstorm. I had been predicting a Valentine's Day snowstorm several days prior to that, but I'm not sure if this is the same system and the models just sped it up by 3 days, or if it is an entirely different system and the Valentine's Day snowstorm just never formed. But the bottom line is, my long range forecast for this snowstorm was not very good at all.
Short Range Timing Forecast: On the other hand, this part of my forecast was really good. I predicted that precipitation would begin in the form of rain between 6 and 8 AM. It did start a little earlier than that, around 4 AM. I predicted a changeover to snow by mid-morning, and it occurred a little earlier as well, as many places had changed over by 8 or 9 AM. I predicted that the snow would end around midnight, and it came to an end between midnight and 1 AM. So overall, my timing forecast was within a couple of hours of what actually happened.
Precipitation Type Forecast: Precipitation type wasn't much of an issue with this particular storm. The precip fell as rain for a few hours, then changed over to snow by mid-morning as expected. Sleet and freezing rain were never really possible with this winter storm given the setup that we had in the upper atmosphere.
Temperature Forecast: My temperature forecast was pretty good, but a little on the warm side. I thought that once it started snowing, the atmosphere would cool down enough to drop the temperature down into the lower 30s, but the temperature at the airport held steady at 34 degrees throughout the event.
Accumulation Forecast: My snowfall accumulation forecast turned out to be fairly accurate. Friday morning, I predicted just 1 to 3 inches, then upped that to 3 to 6 inches in Friday evening's update. I lowered it slightly Saturday morning to 2 to 4 inches, and that ended up being the best forecast. Most locations throughout the county did receive between 2 and 4 inches, although some locations in the far northwestern part of the county got closer to 5 inches.
Conclusion: I feel pretty good about my final forecast (from Saturday morning). The changeover from rain to snow took place pretty much when I expected it to, and snowfall accumulations fell right in line with my forecast as well. The bad part of this forecast was that I wasn't predicting a snowstorm until Friday morning, just 24 hours before the start of the event. I would give myself an A for most of the components listed above, but because my longer range forecast was pretty bad, I give myself a grade of B+ overall.
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8 PM Saturday 02/11
8 AM Saturday 02/11
7 PM Friday 02/10
7 AM Friday 02/10
7 PM Thursday 02/09
7 AM Thursday 02/09
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