Martinsville Weather - Winter Storm Forecast Review for Thu 02/01/07
Long Range Forecast (Very Good): This aspect of my forecast was very good. I picked up on the potential for a winter storm either on Thursday or Friday at least 10 days in advance, and I alerted you to the possibility of something on February 1 or 2 as early as January 23.
Short Range Timing Forecast (Fair): This part of my forecast was close, but it was off just enough to have a fairly significant impact on other aspects of my forecast as well. The timing of the first part of the system was about 3 hours later than what I was predicting, and it didn't last as long as I expected either.
Precipitation Type Forecast (Good): Despite the fact that precipitation totals were much lower than I expected, the types of precipitation that we got matched up very closely with my forecast. I predicted mainly snow with the first system, and that's what we got, although it did end with a brief period of sleet. Then, although we didn't really get anything from the second system Thursday night...if we had, it would have been in the form of freezing rain or rain, which also would have matched up pretty closely with my forecast.
Temperature Forecast (Poor): My temperature forecast was one thing that was affected by the timing of the system. Had the snow started early in the morning, the temperature would have stayed at or below freezing (32). But instead, the snow didn't start until late morning, and the temperature was able to climb up to 34 before it began. It did drop back down to 30 for a while during the period of snow that we got, but then it rose back up to 36 later in the afternoon.
Accumulation Forecast (Poor): This was the other part of my forecast that was affected by the timing of the system. Had it started around 7 or 8 AM, accumulations probably would have been closer to 2 inches. But it started later when temperatures were warmer, and it also was fairly light for the most part, so accumulations were very light, only around a half inch. The other thing that affected accumulations was the convection (thunderstorm activity) that fired up to our south, in southern Georgia and northern Florida. So much heavy rain fell in that area that it effectively "robbed" us of some of the precipitation that we were expected to get. Most of the precipitation from the system was used up in the heavy rain and thunderstorms farther south, and the result is that we only ended up with some light snow on the northern end of it. That is often a concern with those winter storms that have thunderstorm activity on the southern end, but I didn't think it was going to be as big of an impact as it was this time around. Since I predicted 1-3 inches, the total accumulation was still pretty close to that, but I did indicate that I was leaning toward the higher end of that scale, and that was definitely way off from the half inch or so that we ended up with. We also got little or no freezing rain and ice accumulation from the second system, so that portion of my accumulation forecast was basically completely wrong.
Overall Grade: B-
Conclusion: This forecast was certainly better than the one back on January 21 (the Sunday snowstorm that never really materialized and we just got rain and freezing rain), but there is still room for improvement. I already discussed what the main causes of the lower snowfall amounts were, and the most significant of those was the convection along the Gulf Coast. That's something that did not pay much attention to this time around, and I need to remember to do that in the future. Obviously, as we saw on Thursday, it can have a significant impact on how much snow we end up getting. Still, my forecast wasn't too bad overall, and the long range part of it especially is something I'm very proud of. I've always felt like I have better long-range forecasting skills than short-range. In other words, I'm usually good at picking up on the potential for a winter storm as much as 10 or 12 days ahead of time, but once the storm gets closer, I typically don't do quite as well with the short-range forecast. But, that's something that will come with experience, and as I continue to learn from these events, it is my goal that my winter storm forecasts continue to gradually improve.
I also want to make a quick note here (and you can read more of what I said about this in the first link below) that my website set a new record for visitors on Thursday, February 1. Actually, it didn't just set a new record; it smashed the old one. My old record was 2,197 visits on February 26, 2004, and that mark stood for nearly three years. But it fell on Thursday, when I had an amazing 2,813 visitors to my website. Thanks again to all of you who have helped my website grow over the years. I know I say that a lot at times, especially when records are set like this, but that's because I truly mean it. Aside from an occasional mention on TV40, I have never advertised my website anywhere, so much of this is simply due to people spreading the word about my website, and I want you all to know how appreciative I am of that.
Review my forecasts:
8 AM Friday 02/02
8 PM Thursday 02/01
8 AM Thursday 02/01
8 PM Wednesday 01/31
8 AM Wednesday 01/31
8 PM Tuesday 01/30
8 AM Tuesday 01/30
8 AM Monday 01/29
8 AM Sunday 01/28
8 AM Saturday 01/27
8 AM Friday 01/26
8 AM Thursday 01/25
8 AM Wednesday 01/24
8 AM Tuesday 01/23
View Previous Forecasts
Grade my forecast and leave comments about it below!
Leave a comment about my forecast or a general comment about this winter storm!
Note: I have to add comments manually, so it may be a while before your comment gets added to this page. But, unless you leave a rude comment, I will post all positive and negative comments that I receive. If you provide your email address, it will not be posted on my website.
1. james parcell: i view your website evey day. i would be very disappointed if it wasn't available. keep up the good work
2. John: In my opinion your forecasting for this event was very very poor. I would think more like a D than a B-.
3. Stan: I agree with the guy before more...at least a "D"
4. My Response: I may have graded myself a bit on the high side this time; I generally consider that I have been fair if the grade I give myself falls roughly in the middle of the grades in my poll. I think that would have been a C+ or a C this time. But considering I never predicted anything higher than 1-3", and we did get accumulating snow (though it wasn't quite an inch), I honestly don't feel like it deserved a grade below a C. But, everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and that is the purpose of this new comment section.
5. Jonathan (Martinsville Area Weather): Kevin, I think we both learned that no matter how good it looks, something always happens here for some reason to completely rob us of a good winter storm. Good forecast, there wasn't much that COULD go wrong, but what could, did (as always it seems) and threw everyone, not just you, off. This is one of the toughest areas of the country to forecast winter storms. Convection and dry air robbed us.
6. Jonathan: People need to realize how truly tough it is to forecast winter storms. We have MOUNDS of things to look at in order to put together a forecast. We have to sort through TONS of information. We have to look at what's going on from the ground, to thousands of feet above us. It takes lots of hard work and dedication to do what we do, and people need to understand that. It's like anything else. You have good days and bad days.