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Grade my snow forecast: Feb 3, 2014

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This was a difficult storm. For starters we had a spring like Sunday that made it difficult to imagine there would be snow. But even with the change over from rain to snow that did occur, it was a challenge for many schools to decide on delays or closings. With reference to Maryland’s County based system, the northern parts of the counties bordering Pennsylvania averaged over 6 inches of snow and had icy roads, but the southern parts of the same counties had rain last a lot longer and many had nor snow stickage at all.

More Photos

Even when the conditions got bad and kids were in school, should then go home early or wait for the event to end before school let out? Dealing with anxious parents made any decision a tough one.

Please see the images in the slide show for reference to what I had posted along the way on my Facebook page.

I do want you to grade my forecast honestly (not just to be nice). I'll still be here with the same effort next time. I’ve had a great track record this winter, but even Chris Davis had a lull in his home run streak. Of course I kid with the reference. This was my worst storm of the season and while I break down the regions below, I look overall at the entire event for the entire region… The storm did over perform! BWI actually set a rainfall record for the date with 1.34", so storm did over perform for precipitation, but even when the snow fell, it was too late to stick. Overall, I give myself a C. Please read on and then go back to my page to share your thoughts. I will read them all.

My Call For Snowfall:

I love the Canadian GEM Model as reference in the winter. I have promoted it along with my good run all winter. It may get lost in the mix that I first discussed this storm four days earlier as part of a series of storms this week This time it was wrong pushing the snow too far south… and so was I for following. However I didn’t go blindly. I questioned the southern end a bit and it as my low confidence.

I did write this on Sunday afternoon:

“Locking in on how much you end up with will be most difficult in a triangle from metro Baltimore to Washington and Annapolis.

I have more confidence in the typical 'west and north' of the beltway areas that will likely get and stay below freezing. "

My forecast:

On the north side in my initial 6"+ snow zone, I got an A+

On the south side, I was clear with my first call that I had low confidence based on turn over time and stickage.

*I did expand the 4"+ zone in my final call map and that didn't work out. It was my bust and many who live in that region might grade me an F.

The radar updates I showed all morning highlighted the snow line stalling and killing snow potential around metro Baltimore. So overall I give myself a C+ for the region wide forecast since I did discuss the possibilities, but it was my first under performing event of this scale all winter.

In the meantime, please read this post from Sunday Afternoon. I was honest about my uncertainty.

This was the entire statement I posted Sunday afternoon. Did you see it? It did explain my position... and if I wasn't driving back from Atlanta all Sunday, I don't think I would have seen anything differently.

"Stickage

There will be an area that has falling snow while the surface is above freezing from colder clouds and the storm creating it's own cold air due (dynamic cooling). There will also be heavy wet snow during the daylight hours that will fall on salt laden roads with some solar heating.

I will look at ground temps this evening..

Basically not all that lays... stays.

Where it does snow, it may come down at 1"-2"/hour rate in the morning at times. So I could pile up in a hurry and be a commuting issue for sure.

Per my last post with the snow map:

Locking in on how much you end up with will be most difficult in a triangle from metro Baltimore to Washington and Annapolis.

I have more confidence in the typical 'west and north' of the beltway areas that will likely get and stay below freezing. "

I always hope you get what you expect and that was not the case for everyone this time. I take advantage of social media to post frequent updates during an event, but I would rather you remain confident from beginning to end.

Next up: An ice storm Wednesday morning, then possibly a larger snow storm on Sunday. Stand by, this week will be a bumpy ride.

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Kid Weather App

This is a great time to work off the active weather and see the app I made with my son (when he was 6 years old). It won a Parents Choice Award, was listed on Mashable.com's top 10 list of apps to teach kids science, and has been downloaded in 29 countries. We have over 400 items of trivia plus live weather and forecasts for kids. It's available on iTunes and for Android on Google Play and Amazon. See more and links for your device at kidweatherapp.com

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