Today’s snow: Forecast vs. Reality

Weather

I always like to go back and see how we did after the fact. It helps us learn and make better forecasts in the future. How did we do with the uncertainty that existed heading into the storm? How were our forecast snow ranges? Where were we too high? Where were we too low? Why did we miss? Did we just completely blow it anywhere?

I want to be accountable to you too! Look, I’ve been forecasting in southern Colorado long enough that I’ve had my share of swings and misses. I remember those better than the forecasts that I nailed!

Here is the snow forecast that I presented Wednesday morning, October 23, 2019. The reports are as of 12 pm, Thursday, October 24. The snow is gone.

The contours and larger text (ranges) is as I showed during the Wednesday morning newscast. Smaller, italicized font are reports.
The contours and larger text (ranges) is as I showed during the Wednesday morning newscast. Smaller, italicized font are reports.

Overall, I feel pretty good with this one. Given our terrain and micro climates that exist in and near the mountains, there are always some outliers that exist and there were with this one too.

In the Pikes Peak region we definitely had the right idea and in most cases were within ranges. A couple spots on the eastern slopes of the Rampart Range were a little higher than the 5″-9″ range I had, specifically a report of 11″ from Palmer Lake and 12″ very near the Blodgett Peak trail head in Peregrine. I feel like I was a bit too high for eastern Teller County around Woodland Park too. There was a 7″ report that I took at the station and a 6.5″ report that came in to the National Weather Service office in Pueblo, but I would’ve liked to have seen another inch or two there. A couple spots around Cascade did come in with 9″ though and hit better in that 7″-13″ contour.

Farther south, I caught the minimum along the Arkansas River from Cañon City east through Pueblo toward La Junta pretty well. We nailed the big numbers in the mountains southwest of Pueblo and southern I25 corridor. This was the part of the forecast that I and the computer models had highest confidence in though given the position of the upper level storm, the mid-level temperature change on the front and the surface wind.

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