Right where they left off

The first forecast of the year took us to central California, which was facing the threat of rain, thanks to the continued active pattern over the Gulf of Alaska. A few outlets thought the chance of rain was significant enough to put it in the forecast for Fresno on January 4th, but it never came to pass. In fact, it was clear and dry enough that temperatures climbed into the low 60s, which is exactly where The Weather Channel had them. After earning the most forecast victories in 2020, TWC collected the first crown of 2021.
Actuals: January 4th, High 62, Low 48
January 5th, High 60, Low 43

Grade: B-C

2020 Forecaster of the Year

Who could have predicted all that happened in 2020? If anyone could have predicted it, I’m sure a lot of people would have chosen to skip it. A dark December ended brightly, at least in terms of plaudits for The Weather Channel and Accuweather, who tied atop of the leaderboard for forecasters of the month.

It didn’t help put them over the top for forecaster of the year, however. That prize belonged to…. us! Victoria-Weather was he most consistent throughout the year, and ended up with the best scores on aggregate (TWC and AW were 2 and 3, respectively) for the year. Interestingly, The Weather Channel was very good when they were good, but had some stinkers mixed in. They had he most individual forecast wins for 2020, while Accuweather was never at the paramount, but never really had major rough streaks, and are at the bottom of this table.

OutletForecast Wins
The Weather Channel13
Victoria-Weather11.41
WeatherNation7.08
Weatherbug6.82
Accuweather5.58
National Weather Service4.91
Forecast.io4.16

Victoria-Weather was consistent, and had moments of brilliance as well. Just the way we want it. To 2021, hopefully it goes better than 2020.

Fresno, California to Tucson, Arizona

I think the southwestern US is fascinating, geographically. It’s so different than where almost everyone in the country lives, especially when you have to pass from one population hub to another. It will take one long day to cover the 703 miles this drive will take. Our pace will be at 68mph, which is perfect for driving through the desert.

Fresno, California

Almost the entire country is sitting within an upper level trough. One part that isn’t is the west coast, where a sharp ridge is working to keep the Gulf of Alaska low at bay. Skies will be mostly sunny through southern California and western Arizona, but not completely clear. Valley fog will take a while to burn off initially, but should be out of the picture by the time we reach Bakersfield. With northerly jet flow particularly strong in the region, expect Arizona to be seasonably cool, if not a bit chillier, with cloudy skies possible, particularly west of Phoenix. Tucson is going to be a nice place to be this time of year, but may be a bit cooler than expected upon our arrival.

Tucson, Arizona

A holiday get together

Our last forecast of 2020 came a couple of days after Christmas in interior California. Bakersfield was a rainy place on December 27th, and that continued to the 28th. Fortunately, the skies cleared on the 29th, so people could spend their last few hours of their 2020 quarantine on the patio, if they felt comfortable with temperatures only reaching the mid 50s. In the spirit of giving, Bakersfield allowed 3 sites, Accuweather, Weatherbug and Forecast.io to claim a tie atop the leader board to conclude this very long year.
Actuals: December 28th, .21″ of rain, High 56, Low 45
December 29th, High 56, Low 42

Grade: AB-B

Fresno, California

All right everyone, it’s time to get in our first 2021 forecast, which will take us to the state of the last forecast of 2020 – California. Let’s go!

At 453PM, PT, Fresno was reporting a temperature of 58 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. A large Gulf of Alaska storm system is looming off the Pacific Coast, ready to move inland, and prefrontal southerly flow ahead of the system has already arrived, bringing additional moisture and the overcast presently in the area. The primary thrust of this system will arrive on in the late morning tomorrow.
The system will swiftly move through northern California, and be out of town shortly after nightfall on Monday. Most of the precipitation will be found north of Fresno, and snow will fall in the mountainous terrain due north of town. A bubble of high pressure will trail this ridge, making for a decent enough Tuesday, but with the spectre of more inclement weather on the horizon.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with a few shots of rain, High 59, Low 45
Tuesday – Clear and calmer, High 58, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – A mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 63, Low 44
Tuesday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine. High 59, Low 42

AW: Tomorrow – Sun and some clouds High 58, Low 43
Tuesday – Intervals of clouds and sunshine High 58, Low 41

NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers, mainly after noon. Increasing clouds, High 58, Low 41
Tuesday – Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, High 56, Low 42

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy in the morning then cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers in the afternoon, High 61, Low 47
Tuesday – Mostly Sunny. Areas of fog in the morning, High 58, Low 45

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 59, Low 44
Tuesday – Partly cloudy, High 56, Low 41

FIO: Tomorrow – Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, High 61, Low 43
Tuesday – Clear throughout the day. High 63, Low 41

Here is a look at a particularly busy West Coast satellite. There are a lot of clouds coming to the California coast tomorrow, but it’s moving fast, given the size of the system.

Dreamt of a White Christmas

The country felt summer late into fall, and fall ran late as well, so the system that clobbered the upper Midwest and Great Lakes just before Christmas was welcome for some, I’m sure of it. People dream of a white Christmas. That’s why I am going to say confidently that the blustery snow storm that hit Akron starting on Christmas Eve was probably welcome to the locals. The Weather Channel was perhaps the most open to this turn of events, not because they were in Akron, but because they had the best forecast. Active weather always causes the most nettlesome forecasts, and this was no exception, but The Weather Channel was clearly victorious.
Actuals: December 23: Trace of rain, High 53, Low 25
Christmas Eve: .1 inches of total precipitation in rain/snow High 54, Low 22

Grade: C-D