The winter in the Twin Cities has been torturous for folks who aren’t fans of cold weather. When we put together a forecast for Minneapolis at the beginning of the week, though, there was signs of an upturn. While morning lows on Monday were supposed to be below zero, the forecast high by Tuesday afternoon was in the mid to upper 20s, the first time it had been near normal for the entire month of February. What a relief! The forecast was tightly contested, with Weatherbug collecting a narrow victory. The good news continued for Minneapolis, as high temperatures on Wednesday were in the low 40s. Never mind that it was below zero again on Friday morning.
Actuals: Monday – High 10, Low -2
Tuesday – High 28, Low 6
The verifications throughout the month of February have been, to say the least, embarrassing. Finally, however, last weekend in Greensboro, we figured out what was going on. With a difficult forecast inbound, there was a game effort from all involved, wherein even the worst forecasts were better than the best from Lawton or Rockford. A warm front brought a splash of rain last Saturday, ahead of a cold front that swept through on Sunday. The only real surprise was that the rain was heavier with the warm front than it was the cold front, but the temperatures responded exactly as they were expected, especially by Forecast.io, who nailed the forecast, and Victoria-Weather and Accuweather, who were close behind.
Actuals: Saturday – .22 inches of rain, High 63, Low 45
Sunday – .05 inches of rain, High 69, Low 55
I ask you, the reader, because we outlets have continued to whiff on cold forecasts. Now, our forecast for Rockford from last week wasn’t quite the meltdown that we saw in Lawton earlier in the week, the subzero temperatures on both Tuesday and Wednesday after a little bit of snow really turned forecasts on their heads. Accuweather snuckkin with a forecast that was slightly better than the rest of the competition, but it wasn’t very good either. I will give credit where it is due, in that most of the outlets pegged Rockford’s 1-2″ snow accumulation with this round of flurries, but universally, the crew was several degrees too warm, especially on our morning lows,
Actuals: Tuesday – High .3″ of snow, High 18, Low -7
Wednesday – 1.2″ of snow, High 17, Low -3
When I wrote up the forecast for Lawton, Oklahoma, I mentioned that clear skies allowed a little room for things to get chillier. Boy, did they. A slow moving boundary to the northeast was producing precipitation and held back some colder air in the Plains. Well, it moved through Lawton, and it was much colder than anyone forecast. Super Bowl Sunday might have been difficult for satellite customers, with winds touching 40mph from the north for a good chunk of the afternoon. It brought in temperatures that were 10 degrees colder (at least) than most outlets foresaw. This carried over into Monday, where temperatures were, again, 10-15 degrees colder than expected, by almost everyone. Both for the high and the low. This was a fantastically ugly forecast. Forecast.io won handily because their forecast wasn’t a complete disaster. I can’t underscore how bad the forecast was for everyone else, though.
Actuals: Sunday – High 48, Low 20
Monday – High 43, Low 14
Grade: C – F
Well it looked like a messy start to the weekend in Bangor as a system shifting by the region brought a couple inches of morning snow. Thankfully, it scooted out pretty quickly and was dry for the rest of the weekend, albeit much colder. VW’s more aggressive forecast for being cold spurred us to victory!
Friday: 1.9″ of snow. High 33, Low 2.
Saturday: High 13, Low -4.
Forecast Grade: A
I always find the forecasts where we call for snow to be the most interesting, without a doubt. Seeing just how much snow a location received from a system is the most tangible verification there is. Spokane offered up some of the white stuff, and I can say, unquestionably, that meteorologists oversold it. Over the forecast period, Friday and Saturday, the airport only saw about half an inch of accumulation, less than the 2-4″ people thought they might get. Part of the reason was that the sludge moved northeast at a more rapid clip, which, in addition, permitted temperatures to jump much warmer than most had envisioned. The exception was Forecast.io, who correctly guessed a high in the mid 40s on Saturday. They won the day, edging out the usually cool sided Weatherbug.
Actuals: Friday .2″ of snow, High 37, Low 30
Saturday – .3″ of snow, High 45, Low 33
The forecast for Columbia relied in some small part on the fact that a major winter snow had just come through the area, and parts of North Carolina were still digging out. It’s a little unbelievable that temperatures were nearly 70 for both days of our forecast period, even after the cold front went through on Tuesday. The temperatures didn’t cool off very much, either, bottoming out at 49 degrees, which kept those outlets without 48 hours of hourly forecast data in the race. Neither of them were victorious, however, with Accuweather claiming victory. No forecast was very good, and the culprit was most often the too warm temperatures on Tuesday.
Actuals: Monday – High 69, Low 38
Tuesday – .02 inches of rain, High 70, Low 49
One thing that seemed certain when the forecast for Sarasota was put together was that the effects of the Gulf of Mexico would soon supersede the cool, dry air mass in place over the southeastern US. We were right, but not in the way we though. Everyone had forecast a substantial warm up, but that never came, because it was the moisture that returned first. Clouds and a splash of rain prevented temperatures from rising more than a degree at the top end, and everyone whiffed on that drizzle. The National Weather Service narrowly surpassed the crowd, but it wasn’t our best effort.
Actuals: Friday – High 66, Low 38
Saturday – High 67, Low 48
Right now in Minneapolis, the Vikings are playing the Saints in an NFC playoff game, with the snow falling outside and winter firmly in place. Naturally, we’re going to look at the weather in late July. Anthony put together a forecast just ahead of a line of thunderstorms moving into the Twin Cities. Temperatures were only (only!) in the low to mid 80s when there were some outlets (Forecast.io specifically) went all the way up to 90 with their forecast. Victoria-Weather, with home field advantage, were able to secure the victory back in late July. Not unlike the Vikings, who are also in the lead with home field advantage.
Actuals: July 25th – .06 inches of rain, High 84, Low 68
July 26th – .13 inches of rain in thunderstorms, High 84, Low 66
It’s been a while since the western US saw anything resembling the system that slammed the west coast early this week. Partially because of this, we saw mudslides through terrain weakened by recent wildfires, record breaking rain in the Las Vegas area and a very diverse couple of days of weather in Prescott, for our forecast verification. After a trace of rain on Monday, Tuesday turned completely wild, with temperatures spiking in the low 60s again, allowing enough instability for thunderstorms. There was enough energy, though, that there were also snow showers by the end of the day, That’s a pretty crazy day for Arizona! The forecast wasn’t great, but Accuweather was able to separate from the crowd.
Actuals: Monday – Trace of rain, High 61, Low 35
Tuesday – 63 inches of precipitation High 61, Low 37