Autumn before the storm

Two weekends ago, meteorologists were diligently watching the Gulf of Mexico in anticipation of the development of Tropical Storm Delta. Delta did develop into a hurricane and moved through the Mississippi Delta (no relation) and towards the Great Lakes. It was tough to think of the tropics before that in Atlanta, as the temperatures, particularly the morning lows around the 50 degree mark, were positively autumnal. The Weather Channel did earn victory on the forecast. They’ve been in Atlanta getting pumpkin spied lattes for a couple weeks now, and surely had some more intimate knowledge of the conditions.
Actuals: October 5th, High 77, Low 50
October 6th, High 79, Low 51

Grade: B-C

Still in practice

There was a lot of weather to talk about in September, particularly in the tropics. I’m happy to report, however, that we were able to keep our touch for forecasting across the country. Forecasts for Bellingham were pretty unified across the board, and the verified weather at the end of September was a carbon copy from one day to another, but I can claim that Victoria-Weather was able to secure the victory all by ourselves, even if it was by the narrowest of margins.
Actuals: September 29th, High 74, Low 48
September 30th, High 74, Low 48

Grade: C

Not so far off

An anomalous batch of cold air settled into the High Plains late last week, bring snow to Denver shortly after they saw triple digits. The cold air spread across the Front Range, and that included places as far south as the Mexican Border. The cold air hung on for a couple of days even in Las Cruces thanks to a cut off low in the region. The cooler forecasts prevailed on this forecast, which is not something you can say that often. Forecast.io nabbed the top forecast honors as the only outlet not to forecast precipitation on Thursday morning.
Actuals: Thursday – High 64, Low 49
Friday – High 73, Low 56

Grade: B – D

No secrets

When forecasting for Santa Barbara, I speculated that the Weather Service knew something that the rest of us didn’t, as their high temperature forecast was several degrees warmer than the rest of the group. I’m here to say that the NWS had no inside information. Temperatures along the coast weren’t quite the furnace that they were inland, where fires have exploded in the last couple of days. That’s good news for Santa Barbara, but bad news for the Weather Service’s forecast. Accuweather had a very good forecast and won the day, which made the NWS look even worse.
Actuals: September 1st, High 72, Low 58
September 2nd, High 73, Low 54

Grade: A-D

Lukewarm for Louisville

The Ohio Valley was afflicted by a low level perturbation as August wound down. This affliction was felt by our forecasters looking at Louisville. Generally, everyone was in the right ball park, but the temperatures didn’t trend in a particular direction or another to give any outlet in particular an advantage. Cloudy skies, especially overnight, kept low temperatures from getting too low, but the high minimums and just enough sunshine allowed the highs to trend into the high end of the outlook. Weathernation took home the victory, though not by much.
Actuals – 8/30 – High 81, Low 68
8/31 – .1 inches of rain, High 84, Low 69

Grade: C

Last gasps of summer

East of the Rockies, we’re headed for a cool stretch through the middle of September. The end of August was quite the opposite, with the final throes of hot weather reaching as far north as Muskegon Bay. Bay City saw temperatures on August 21st and 22nd that climbed all the way up to the upper 80s. One last dance for summer time. It was a family affair, with Victoria-Weather, The Weather Service and Weathernation each grabbed a piece of the win.
Actuals: August 21 – High 88, Low 64
August 22 – High 89, Low 62

Grade: A-B

Rally!

The Weather Channel didn’t have a great August, but they had a very good showing in Wheeling. Temperatures were in the mid 80s, with a sprinkle of thunderstorm activity late last week in the West Virginia northern Panhandle. The Weather Channel captured the forecast almost perfectly, bucking their recent trends.
Actuals: August 20th, High 84, Low 53
August 21st, .04 inches of rain, High 85, Low 61

Grade: A-C

Laudable forecasts

Another summer, and another scary hurricane has made landfall somewhere in North America. Laura, while a strong storm and having made landfall in the US may not be as well remembered as storms like Michael, Maria, Dorian or Harvey for a variety of factors. Those factors are, of course, Covid-19, Civil unrest and the virtuous fight for social justice and racial equality, and the ongoing Republican National Convention. Laura was, depending on your home market, not even in the top three news stories of the day.

It’s too bad for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it turns attention away from those residents who were greatly impacted by this storm, particularly in Cameron and Lake Charles, Louisiana, but also because the forecasts were so good, and apparently so well heeded, the death toll is not as large as one might suspect from a strong storm striking the US Mainland.

in a time when science is so heavily scrutinized, it is important to remind the populace that we usually get it right, and the recommendations for safety and well being are rooted in good intentions and factual assessment. That, and the pain that Laura has brought (even through it came with a lower casualty total) will likely fly under the radar, so to speak

Another excellent forecast that came up in the last couple of weeks was the one for Durham, which was posted here about two weeks ago. Victoria-Weather and the National Weather Service collected the top forecasts thanks to solid temperature outlooks, despite heavy rain that was going to fall in the area.

Actuals: August 14th, .63 inches of rain, High 88, Low 73
August 15th, 1.37 inches of rain, High 84, Low 72

Grade: A-B

A delayed heat wave

Every knows that now, it is very hot out west. This hasn’t been the case all summer on the west coast, as it seems as though it has been recently during every summer, and even this month, it took at least an extra day in Napa. We though the warm up would start on the 7th, but instead, wind came off the Pacific and temperatures dropped a few degrees, which was certainly not the expectation. Fortunately, these changes in California don’t necessarily sink forecasts, so most of us won’t be totally embarrassed by this verification. A trio, Victoria-Weather, Weatherbug and WeatherNation all get to stake a claim to the victory.
Actuals: August 6th – High 80, Low 60
August 7th, High 77, Low 59

Grade: C-D

High heat

Late in July, we assembled a forecast for Reno, which promised highs in the low 90s, and that’s what was delivered. Clear skies and dry air made lows in the 50s seem plausible, but it was not to be. The Weather Service had the perfect blend of high highs and still warm lows, claiming the victory. (Note: I have submitted the draft for my next book. The hope is that this will be a kick in the pants for the posting schedule. Fingers crossed!)
Actuals: July 24th, High 93, Low 63
July 25th, High 93, Low 61

Grade: B-C