Monday, April 7, 2014

Verification of the 2013-2014 Winter Forecast

Hello everyone, this is a look back at my 2013-2014 winter forecast, and an analysis of how well it performed against what we observed from December 1, 2013 to March 1, 2014.

Temperature Verification

In my Final 2013-2014 Winter Forecast, I projected that we would see the core of the cold centered in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Midwest, Ohio Valley and into the Central Plains. The forecast also called for warmer than normal temperatures in the Southeast, while average conditions were to prevail over the southern Plains and the Northeast. My projection had the West US in for back and forth temperatures, ending up around normal.

Actual temperature anomalies for December - January - February 2013-2014
Looking back at what actually happened this past winter, we saw the core of the cold in the Upper Midwest into the Midwest itself, with still well-below normal temperatures in the Northern Plains, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, and Southern Plains. This part of the forecast verified quite well, with the only trouble spot being the Southern Plains, which ended up a bit cooler than forecasted. The Northeast observed overall normal conditions, verifying that part of the forecast. The Southeast did end up a bit warmer than normal, but not as much as I thought it would be. The main trouble spot was in the West, where we saw warmer than normal temperatures instead of the average conditions I predicted. This can be attributed at least partially to the drought, as well as the persistent ridge in the Gulf of Alaska.

On a self-grading scale, I might put this forecast at an A-minus, maybe down to a B-plus.

Precipitation Verification

For the precipitation forecast, I anticipated above normal precipitation from the Central Plains into the Midwest and Great Lakes, believing that was where we would see the primary storm track. I also believed a drier than normal winter was in store for the Southeast, with neutral conditions in the East and West.

This part of the forecast actually busted quite badly. The Central Plains saw below normal precipitation rather than the above normal precipitation that was forecasted, though we did see verification in the Great Lakes. Overall, the East Coast didn't stray too far from what I thought would happen, ending up only slightly above normal overall compared to my projected average conditions. The West US definitely busted hard, with a serious drought taking over instead of my forecasted average conditions. The Southern Plains also ended up drier than normal, while the Southeast did not.

On a self-grading scale, this portion of the forecast likely deserves a D-plus.

Snowfall Verification

The snowfall forecast called for snowier than normal conditions over the Plains, Upper Midwest, Midwest and Great Lakes. The rest of the country was pegged for average conditions, with the East Coast possibly in line for some big storms.

I do not have a verification image, but I can affirm that the Midwest and Great Lakes regions verified accurately in this portion of the forecast. The East Coast ended up a bit snowier than I thought it would, and the West definitely got much less snow than what is considered average.

I would put the accuracy of this forecast at a B even.

Overall Forecast Verification

The overall forecast called for some big snowstorm potentials in the Northeast, with a warm and dry winter in the Southeast. The risk for a warm and dry winter existed in the Southern Plains, with a cold and snowy winter outlined for the North Central US. Slightly below average temperatures were anticipated for the Rockies, while a warmer than normal winter was projected for the Pacific Northwest. I feel verification of this graphic went better than I actually thought it would, with most areas seeing at least partial verification of this winter forecast.

For the overall forecast, I believe a grade of B-plus would be appropriate here.

What did you think of the accuracy of this forecast? Comment below with your thoughts!



Frank Reid said...

I live in Omaha. You still owe me a BUNCH of snow. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think you hit right with most of the country,, Me not so much in nc. The coldest winter ever!! Not so muc with the snow but just cold!! Keep up the good work , I enjoy following you

Wally Gullang said...

For here in Northern Illinois you did a really good job of hitting the nail on the head. It was a long, cold and quite snowy winter. More like I remember winter being when growing up

Anonymous said...

Yes you did hit the nail on the head for my area as well!
I'll have no more repeats of that however!
Thank you for all your hard work!

Christopher Ebie said...

Considering all the variables of predicting weather I think you do quite well. We had nearly double the amount of average snow in southern Michigan and you mentioned heavier snow for our area in your forecast.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, your forecast was close, it did miss the western half of the snow forecast. From SD down thru Central KS there was very little, and in some cases, no snow. Overall, I would give you an above average, B-. Too bad the "Colorado Hook" never materialized, that may have saved your forecast for the central states. I still have tremendous confidence in your forecasting. Thanks for all the hard work!

Anonymous said...

You blew NOAA out of the water. The Kansas City area had its 8th coldest winter on record (NOAA predicted "above average temperatures"), and we had above normal snowfall (26" versus average at 18"). "Spring" has continued to be abnormally cold as well.

Interestingly enough, looking back at the past 365 days, Kansas City is in the middle of its 2nd coldest period of record. Quite a big bust by NOAA.


Anonymous said...

Im sorry to say but here in savannah it's been very cold this winter, I lost many plant's and bushes.

Anonymous said...

Way off. It was way colder and snowier than average here in Charlotte,NC this winter.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, this is an honest suggestion, but you shouldn't forecast lake effect snow on these long range things. Many locations that get significant lake effect ended up well below average since the lakes iced over so quickly. For instance Houghton, MI, currently has 170" even though they average a total of around 220" of snow. The difference is probably even more extreme further north along that peninsula. Other lake effect zones you did predict accurately though. In general lake effect snow is hard to forecast for anyone, so I'd be cautious next time you decide to highlight lake zones in their own colors. That's just my two cents though; you can do what you want :)