Martinsville Weather - Winter Storm Forecast Review for Sun 01/21/07
Long Range Forecast (Good): My long range forecast was about the only aspect that was very good. I predicted this winter storm 9 days in advance, although I was predicting it for Monday initially. I adjusted the timing to Sunday afternoon 4 days out, which is basically what the timing of the system ended up being.
Short Range Timing Forecast (Good): This part of my forecast wasn't too bad either, although the precipitation did begin a few hours before I thought it would. Still, my forecast for a starting time around midday was closer than most others, including the National Weather Service, which for some reason wasn't predicting it to begin until mid to late afternoon.
Precipitation Type Forecast (Poor): Now we start to get into the parts of my forecast that were much worse. I went back and forth on this a few times, but basically I was expecting a snow and sleet mixture for a few hours from late morning into early afternoon, then the precipitation would change to all sleet through the afternoon, and finally it would end as freezing rain in the evening. Instead, we actually got mostly rain, with a little sleet mixed in this morning. The temperature dropped low enough that we did get a moderate accumulation of ice on elevated surfaces during the afternoon as a result of freezing rain. More discussion about precipitation type follows in the next section.
Temperature Forecast (Fair): My temperature forecast wasn't too bad, but it was just far enough off to completely throw off my precipitation type forecast. First of all, temperatures rose Saturday night as the clouds moved in. Although that normally happens when clouds move in at night, I didn't think temperatures would rise as much as they did. It was 34 degrees by daybreak, which was the start of our problems. The precipitation started as rain, with just a little bit of sleet mixed in, and the temperature was never able to drop enough to change the precipitation over to all snow or sleet. The temperature very slowly dropped, and actually bottomed out at 30 for a few hours in the afternoon. The precipitation had changed to all freezing rain by that time, and that's how we ended up with a light to moderate ice accumulation on elevated surfaces.
Accumulation Forecast (Very Poor): My accumulation forecast varied a little over the last few days, but in general I was expecting 1 or 2 inches of snow and sleet before the freezing rain began. Instead, as I've already discussed, we never really got any snow and sleet, and what little sleet we did get wasn't enough to accumulate much. If surface temperatures had been just a couple of degrees colder, and we had gotten more snow and sleet, enough precipitation moved through the area to where we would have gotten a couple of inches of accumulation. Some of the computer models were predicting that we would get very little precipitation at all, so that was a concern that I had. But as it turned out, we just ended up getting a lot of rain and freezing rain, and not really anything in the way of snow and sleet accumulation.
Overall Grade: D+
Conclusion: Considering the main things most people care about are the accumulation and precipitation type aspects of the forecast...this was a really bad forecast. Those of you who have been following me and my website for a few years have probably realized that I do have a bit of a snow bias. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be, and I try not to let it affect me, but considering it's late January and we still haven't really gotten any snow this winter, it probably did affect my judgement a little. But still, I did feel pretty confident that, at the very least, we would get enough snow to cover the ground, and perhaps as much as 2 or 3 inches, depending on how it all worked out. But this storm was all about the temperatures, and they just didn't cooperate this time around. The good part of it all is that I do feel like I have learned a lot today that I can apply to future forecasts, so hopefully I won't blow one quite this badly again. The reason I gave myself a D instead of an F is because the freezing rain part of my forecast did come through pretty much as expected, and the reason for the + is because I predicted it within a day of when it actually hit 9 days in advance, which is hard to do, especially when we're in such an active pattern. But aside from those two things, the rest of my forecast was pretty bad, and I don't think it was deserving of anything above a C or D.
Review my forecasts:
8 AM Sunday 01/21
8 PM Sunday 01/21
8 AM Saturday 01/20
8 PM Saturday 01/20
8 AM Friday 01/19
8 PM Friday 01/19
8 AM Thursday 01/18
8 PM Thursday 01/18
8 AM Wednesday 01/17
8 PM Wednesday 01/17
8 AM Tuesday 01/16
8 PM Tuesday 01/16
8 AM Monday 01/15
8 AM Sunday 01/14
8 AM Saturday 01/13
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1. Jonathan F: Good job on picking up the storm in the LR, Kev. As usual, CAD events in the SE are the hardest storms to predict out of th em all, and I don't know of anyone who got it right. So no one can really complain.

2. Dont you just love Henry Co.? You have got to love 33 degree's and rain...