When you see your physician, you don’t want to hear from her how difficult your diagnosis happens to be. Nor do you want to hear whining from an airline employee (even though they often do just that) when they cancel your flight and they have to rebook 100 passengers.
So, most meteorologists try not to tell everyone how tough a forecast happens to be.
However, in this case, I want to spend a few minutes talking about the New Year’s Eve/Day winter storm. Why? Because in the 52 years I have been forecasting Great Plains weather, I’ve never seen the a winter storm come from the south southeast. In spite of this completely unique situation in modern meteorology, we got the forecast right.
Here are the actual snowfall amounts.
Yellow is six to eight inches. Light orange is 8-12″ and dark orange is 12-18 inches.
Now, look at this forecast posted two days before.
Virtually perfect. This was especially important given the number of people traveling.
More than 150,000 people lost power. While about 60 miles too far north, this is still a B+ forecast — the only thing I should have changed was take the increased amount just west of Oklahoma City and moved it to the next higher category.
The next day’s forecast was nearly perfect. That, along with the preparation suggestions that accompanied it, allowed plenty of time for people to prepare.
My purpose here is not to brag about myself. It is to brag about the entire weather community. On New Year’s Eve, when others were partying, meteorologists were working hard to insure your safety.
As extreme weather inevitably develops in 2021, I hope you will take the forecasts and warnings seriously.