62ºF

Which models got ‘snowed’?

Susan Russo sent me this from her son and wife, Ryan & Anne-Laure Russo, who just moved to Dripping Springs, Texas from California. Welcome!
Susan Russo sent me this from her son and wife, Ryan & Anne-Laure Russo, who just moved to Dripping Springs, Texas from California. Welcome!

Let me start by saying that the forecast for snow, which is always a challenge, proved excellent. All along we said Harris County would be too warm for anything to stick, but if you drove up I-45, you’d run into the snow and plenty of folks did! Here are some amounts we found:

Yesterday's snow amounts
Yesterday's snow amounts

Given the heavier amounts and locations (even to southern Montgomery County we saw snowball fights), which of the models did the best predicting? Honestly, no single model won, which is why meteorologists look at all of them when we come up with our forecast! The two big global models, the American (GFS) and the European, gave a solid general location of where the snow would fall, but neither went south far enough and both lacked on amounts, staying in the 2″ range:

The American Model didn't come far south enough and was light on amounts
The American Model didn't come far south enough and was light on amounts
The European predicted 2-3" max
The European predicted 2-3" max

On the other hand, the Canadian model had the location pretty on target for our area, but the 8-9″ of snow was hard to find although Grapeland in Houston County did have more than 7″:

7-8" snow in Grapeland courtesy of Nora Cantu Windham
7-8" snow in Grapeland courtesy of Nora Cantu Windham

The Canadian is below followed by the North American Model, or NAM, which was closest of all with location and amounts, although it took the snow line way too far south -- all the way to the beach!

The Canadian went way too high with snow amounts!
The Canadian went way too high with snow amounts!
The NAM did a nice job with snow amounts but went way too far south
The NAM did a nice job with snow amounts but went way too far south

So, not to labor the point, but when you wonder just which model we look at when forecasting, the answer is ALL of them. Rarely does one model perform 100%, but if you know the strengths and weaknesses of each of them you can usually come up with a pretty decent forecast. And if you have enough snow, you can come up with a really fabulous snowman:

Jake Dixon and his Texas-style snowman!
Jake Dixon and his Texas-style snowman!

I hope you enjoyed the winter weather and now prepare for a cold week ahead with freezing overnight temperatures the next couple of nights!!

Frank

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