CONTEST STATUS - Updated: SAT ... 14-APR-18 @ 9 PM EDT

Winter '17 / '18 - Snowfall Forecast Contests

19th Annual 'Regular Season' Snowfall Forecast Contest
- FINAL Results here
1st Place: Brad Yehl
2nd Place: Don Sutherland
3rd Place: NWS ER WFOs
HM: Herb @MAWS

17th Annual 'Season-total' Snowfall Forecast Contest
- FINAL Results here
1st Place: Don Sutherland
2nd Place: Mitchel Volk
3rd Place: Brad Yehl
Climo: 5th place

Winter '16 / '17 - Snowfall Forecast Contests
18th Annual 'Regular Season'
FINAL results here

16th Annual 'Season-total'
FINAL results here

Friday, March 10, 2017

Winter '16 / '17 - Today's Unworthy Snow Storm

Alfred Stieglitz (1870s)

UPDATE (11-MAR-17 @ 11:30 EST)
Yesterday's system turned out to be more of a nuisance than anything else and certainly not contest-worthy.

Plowable snowfall (inches):
HYA - ~7
ABE - 4.5
PVD - 4.4
BDR, ISP - 4

Yesterday afternoon, NWP models and operational weather forecasters finally caught on to today/s marginally contest-worthy snow storm over the northern M-A and coastal SNE.  This coming after several days and multiple runs suggesting skimpy snowfall totals i.e., less than plowable ... and unwelcome liquid precipitation over the forecast stations.

Not the first time this has happened this season nor seasons in the past; however ... it does point to a significant lack of consistent ability to forecast snow storms where the storm-total may or not be plowable and whether the event is contest-worthy.

Some have suggested issuing a 'Call for Forecasts' whenever it appears there's a chance for a contest-worthy snow storm.  If were only that simple!

A fair amount of work comes with issuing a 'Call for Forecasts'.

Hundreds of email invitations have to been sent (50 at a time ... 30' apart so as not to be flagged as spam by your ISP or blocked by my ISP).
The contest/s web site has to be updated.
The contest/s web log has to be updated.
The contest/s Facebook page has to be updated.

Then it becomes a judgment call deciding whether the storm was contest-worthy (six to eight stations with more than nuisance storm-total snowfall i.e., >= 4").

Collecting surface ... upper air ... and remote sensing data used in the final analysis and storm summary reporting takes time while the event is unfolding. All for naught if the storm fizzles.

Believe you me ... no one is more disappointed when a snow storm slips through the cracks.

Bottom line: a contest-worthy storm has to be reasonably well predicted by the numerical models and WPC 24-to-36 hours before the first flakes fall for a 'Call for Forecasts' to be issued.

Final thought:
The number of forecast stations affected with more than nuisance snow totals is one of several criterion for deciding whether a snow storm is contest-worthy.  The number ranges between six and eight.

In this case ... the number of stations would have been eight instead of six.
The reason:  EWR ... BDR ... JFK .. and ISP are relatively close together as are PVD and HYA and there'd likely be relatively small variations in the storm-total snowfalls between stations.


Peter O'Donnell said...

Monday-Tuesday ... the mid-sized kahuna.

I just noticed, the letters K U are in kahuna.

Let's get ready to rumble. Slant sticks at the ready.

-- Roger Smith

TQ said...

KahUna FTW!

Of course ... recall the run-up runs gave KORF +18" before settling on partly cloudy.

Jessica Cain said...

Greetings, TQ!!
Hope you had a good summer! Something I had been wanting to bring up, and this thread seems to be the most relevant to the issue:

> Hundreds of email invitations have to been sent (50 at a time ... 30' apart
> so as not to be flagged as spam by your ISP or blocked by my ISP).

My gods, that sounds like a lot of e-mails to be sending out, and you're probably up to see the sun rise the next day when all is said and done, which by the way is most appreciated. Out of all those e-mails, what kind of response rate do you get? Have you thought about setting up something on Yahoogroups? At least in that way, you would only need to send one e-mail, for example to, and Yahoogroups sends out the call for forecasts e-mail to everyone who subscribes to the discussion group.

Speaking strictly for myself, I kept a close watch on weather forecasts in the days leading up to a possible contest worthy-storm for two of them last season, and one of my girl friends gave me a heads-up on the third. Now that I see the contest is on Failbook as well I can keep tabs on contest status.

I loved what you did last winter including the National Weather Service forecast consensus for the storm contest. Any possibility you can include another forecast consensus---perhaps (In)Accu-weather? It would at the least fun to see just how good/bad they really are.

I am looking forward to particiapting in the contests again this winter. I already have an idea where I am going for the seasonal snowfall totals, though I'm sure everyone is going to be thinking along the same lines. I was actually quite happy with my 2nd place finish last winter considering I would had been happy with somewhere in the top 50% my first time out. I even went out the following weekend and celebrated at my usual haunt, which I put up on my Failbook.

As for the storms aspect of the contest I am looking forward to improving upon my 5th place finish, which to me was disappointing as my goal was to at least finish in the top 4, although I was at least happy to beat the NWS forecast consensus. I think I figured out where I went wrong and have developed a correction to the bias with the forecast model I like to use. As for whether or not it actually works I will not know that until I am dealing with actual storm forecasting conditions, so at this point it's anybody's guess.

Not much else to add. Looking forward to the contest this winter.