A strange thing happened today…my coworkers kept saying “good job!”, or “you guys really nailed that storm!”.
Hmmm, now I’ve mentioned in the past that I feel I get a bit to emotionally wrapped up into these events, and this time I felt like in the end I really missed it. So why the disparity between how I felt I did and what others thought?
1. In my mind, and alluded to in this blog yesterday, I really thought we’d only get very brief light accumulations for the bulk of the metro area. Of course I had 1-3″ in the forecast during the 6pm show yesterday (so did Steph). So technically the actual forecast (that 50,000 tv viewers and online viewers at that time saw) was far more than I really thought we would get. A large part of the metro area DID get a total in that range. I updated the totals up above. At least all of the west metro, south, and much of inner east/southeast metro. And it did not snow south of Wilsonville which was a perfect forecast for all of you in Salem/Woodburn etc…
2. This is the main point: I, and probably many of you, focused on “how much snow was coming”. That’s what weather geeks do. And if it was a snowstorm that was coming for the day (to play in) most other people do as well. Apparently most of our viewers, and just about everyone I work with seemed to focus on “snow overnight, then a quick warmup with no major issues for the morning commute“. That’s exactly what happened, most areas transitioned to rain quickly after 1-2am, and the heavy rain melted enough of the snow to avoid a mess. I didn’t realize that many of my co-workers were thinking we might be totally wrong and it would be 30 degrees and heavy snow at 8am.
So what went right? The Winners:
- Timing in general, it happened a little faster than I expected, rain to snow, then back to rain. But models did very well.
- Mesoscale models clearly showed a changeover to snow as a distinct possibility, they are getting better and better!
- Heaviest totals to the north and west of the metro area. Lots of 12-15″ totals above Scappoose, Vernonia, Amboy etc…
- No snow south of southern metro area. 1/2″ at Sherwood is the farthest south I saw. None in Wilsonville/Canby.
- Quick warmup with south wind today. I remember seeing a comment on here a day or two ago thinking that 50 was way too warm of a forecast for today. It hit at least 53 at PDX.
- Positioning of the surface low…great job most models! Came inland between Astoria and Hoquiam. The NAM was a little far south, and several days out the GFS/ECMWF/GEM were better than the much farther south NAM.
- Heavy snow (10″+) in the right places as mentioned before, plus the 12-18″ in the Hood River Valley was a nice verification to see.
- This blog…no drama or major issues as we’ve often see in the past.
What went wrong?
- More snow than expected eastern metro and Clark County. 3-5″ east of I-205 was more than expected. I didn’t expect the 3-5″ totals in east Vancouver, Camas, and Hazel Dell areas. As mentioned earlier though, maybe much of the public didn’t care since it was late at night and melting quickly by daybreak.
- Me saying “my gut feeling is we get very little snow” on the evening broadcast. Should have just kept my mouth closed and the forecast would have basically been okay.
So I’d rank it a 30% bust, but 70% fine forecast. Feel free to disagree in the comments, you know I’m not easily offended.
By the way, has anyone noticed the very cold arctic air creeping farther south than any model shows into north central and northeast Oregon this evening??? More on that and how it affects the Gorge forecast on a post later this evening.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen