How did we do at forecasting southern Colorado’s snowstorm?

Weather

We always like to go back and see how we did on our forecast when storms move through our viewing area. It helps us learn and improve understanding of weather systems and local microclimates for future storms.

This storm was particularly challenging given social media posts Sunday and Monday that claimed Colorado Springs proper was going to get five feet of snow. It is true that one computer model did in fact, forecast 89.2″ of snow in Colorado Springs at one point – but not one single credible weather source/meteorologist shared that – we knew it was unrealistic. Do you know how many times that has happened in Colorado Springs? The answer is zero. Do you know how many times in the future I think that may happen? The answer is zero.

Our first Snow-Cast map was shared on Wednesday. The heart of the storm was still five days away at that point, but we knew there was going to be a significant storm either on top of us or very close to home and that there was an elevated interest in the storm because of social media. We normally don’t share anything other than a map with some colored bullseyes that far in advance because the level of accuracy that far out is pretty low, other than pointing out which areas may get the heaviest snow.

Due to the unique circumstances of this storm, we shared a map that we felt had some value given what we knew and didn’t know about the storm at that point. See it below in this image comparison tool and compare it to our forecast map on Friday to see how we started honing in on the rain-snow line and getting more specific with snow amounts. As storms get closer we have a better understanding of them and have more computer models that contribute to the forecast. We expect to have greater confidence and more specificity as storms approach.

There were still a number of uncertainties that existed with this storm almost until its arrival. We mentioned these through the number of articles the FOX21 Storm Team wrote leading up to the weekend. We mentioned why they were important and how they could change impacts from the storm. We won’t rehash them here, but you can go back and look if you’d like.

TUESDAY UPDATE
WEDNESDAY UPDATE
THURSDAY UPDATE

Here’s what we went out the door with as the storm moved in. These are our unedited maps we showed on television Friday. I’ve added small, italicized text to reports that came in via the National Weather Service and our viewers.

As is often the case, there are always a couple outliers, some areas where we were too high and some areas where we were too low. This is almost always the case, but when we are working through our verification process we are looking to see if our overall pattern was right. Given how challenging this forecast was, we’re pretty darn happy with the results.

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