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

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

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

Saved by a few flakes

The forecast didn’t waiver by a lot in Grand Rapids, but there was one element that separated a couple of outlets. Just north of a system that would dump snow measured in feet on the mid-Atlantic, west winds off Lake Michigan brought a few snow showers to Grand Rapids on Wednesday, which elevated the results for only two outlets: Accuweather, and the winner of the day, Victoria-Weather. For results to fluctuate much on a precipitation error, the temperatures had to have been fairly close, which they were. The Weather Channel was good on temperatures, but off on the snow, which set them back, like nearly everyone else.
Actuals: Tuesday – High 29, Low 19
Wednesday – Trace of snow, High 30, Low 23

Grade: B-C

A strong ridge, even stronger than thought

Owensboro seemed to be a pretty easy forecast when we issued it last week. Well. A combination of a stout ridge at the upper levels and an infusion of warm air thrust northward by an advancing area of low pressure shot high temperatures well into the 60s, which was a sight warmer than anyone anticipated. The Weather Channel and Accuweather tied to have the “least bad” forecasts.
Actuals: Thursday: High 67, Low 35
Friday – High 65, Low 41

Grade: D

Blown out of the water

A cut off low off the Pacific Coast eventually brought a pretty healthy burst of snow, rain and thunderstorms to the middle of the country before shifting into eastern Canada and New England. Along the way, it mangled some temperature forecasts in the Tucson area. The specific credit for that can be given to the gusty winds that hit 30mph on the 7th, and in the 20mph range on the 8th. High temperatures on the 7th were warmer than expected, and the lows on the 8th were well above normal, all thanks to winds coming out of the southern Rockies and the arid plains of west Texas. The Weather Channel had the top forecast, but won narrowly as everyone had similar forecasts.
Actuals: December 7th – High 79, Low 39
December 8th – High 77, Low 55

Grade: D

(Please note, the days used in the forecast should have been “tomorrow” and “Tuesday” rather than Monday)

Hazy days in Hanford

Acting as a pretty on the nose metaphor around election day, Hanford was hazy, and didn’t act as expected. An impactful haze settled into Hanford on Monday, keeping temperatures significantly cooler than expected ahead of election day. By the end of the forecast period, though, things fell into place. Weathernation had the top forecast, and it was on the strength of a nearly perfect Election Day forecast. No word on if they have been contacted by any pollsters for 2024.
Actuals: Monday, High 71, Low 47
Tuesday – High 80, Low 48

Grade: C-D

Wet and wild in Wenatchee

Late October was alive with nasty weather, and the Pacific Northwest was not spared. Despite it’s position on the drier side of the Cascades, even Wenatchee saw a rain/snow mix on Friday the 23rd. This was well anticipated, but the clouds that suppressed temperatures on Friday were not as well foreseen and sunk a few forecasts. The outlets that had cooler highs also correctly called for snow, and snagged the best scores. At the top of the heap was WeatherNation.
Actuals: Thursday 10/22, High 50, Low 36
Friday – .06 inches of precipitation for rain/snow, High 36, Low 31

Grade: B-C

A fall scorcher

There is a continuing threat of wildfires in California, particularly in the northern part of the state, where despite a recent cool down for much of the country, hot weather, wind and dry conditions continued for California. Over the weekend of the 17th and 18th, temperatures in Santa Rosa spiked all the way to the 90s, even the upper 90s on that Saturday. Forecasters were anticipating some relief by the end of the forecast period, so everyone was a little low on their forecasts. The warmest outlet was Victoria-Weather, and we claimed victory on a miserable forecast for everyone — particularly residents of Santa Rosa.
Actuals: October 17th, High 97, Low 48
October 18th, High 91, Low 48

Grade: C-F