Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Snowstorm of Two Characters

The latest forecast models runs suggest a snow event of two characters.  Over the mountains and over southwest Washington there will be large quantities of snow.  And substantial snow over the eastern slopes of the Cascades.  But over Puget Sound and northwest Washington this will be a very modest affair.  In fact, many of you over the north Sound and Whidbey Island got WAY more snow today than you will get tomorrow.

Right now two signs of the incipient action are evident.  First, the Langley Hill coastal radar is now showing the leading precipitation/clouds.  You really have to love this radar!



And the 8 PM surface charts show true Arctic air moving into Bellingham.  14F temps at Bellingham Airport with a dewpoint of 10F.  Cold air at Blaine and really frigid stuff (single digits and subzero) over southern BC.   This air has not made much progress into Washington yet, but that will change as the low moves south of us.
Now to the important part.  I have reviewed the latest National Weather Service forecast model output (4 PM), the forecasts from the UW high-res models, and the output from several ensemble prediction systems.  The situation is similar to this morning, and IF ANYTHING DRIER WITH LESS SNOW OVER PUGET SOUND.

Here is the latest 24-h snowfall ending 4 PM tomorrow (the storm is over by then west of the Cascades) from the 4-km UW WRF model for both the region and western WA.  Huge (like 3 feet+) snowfalls over the southern WA and Oregon Cascades.  8-15 inches over portions of SW Washington.  7-8 inches near Olympia, 2-4 inches over Seattle, 2 inches over Everett. Very little over Bellingham. Big snows over SE Washington.



I think this forecast is the best my discipline can give you for a single forecast.  The latest update from the Seattle NWS office is consistent with the above numbers.  Far better would be a probabilistic forecast:  X% for 0-2 inches, Y% for 2-4 inches, Z% for 4-6 inches, etc.  But that is for a latter blog.  And yes, THERE is some uncertainty with this forecast--my gut feeling is there is perhaps a 20% chance it could go wrong in a serious way.

Finally, there is been a lot of talk about really strong winds tomorrow.  My examination of the weather models suggest that the winds will only be strong (30 knots or more) over portions of NW Washington downstream of the Fraser River gap, the Strait, and offshore of Grays Harbor.  The northerlies in the Sound will increase rapidly (to 20-30 mph over water) as the low center moves south of us, resulting in a large pressure difference between high pressure in southern BC and the low.  Here are the predicted winds at 10 AM. 


I wanted to end with an editorial comment.  There were a number of folks that were concerned/upset about the fact that my and others forecasts have changed over the past few days (from slush to snow to lighter snow).  One individual told me I needed to show more "character" and be strong enough to stay with my original forecast.  An ill-informed (and somewhat insulting) writer for the Seattle Times wrote:

"How much snow could fall in the Seattle area Wednesday now appears to anybody's best guess." and then made fun of one of my colleagues at the National Weather Service. 

The very nature of forecasts is that they tend to change in time.  They become more accurate the closer you get in time to an event.   A good forecaster will change the forecast as more information and new guidance becomes available.  What would you have them do?

In one lecture of my senior weather forecasting class I talk about the psychology of weather forecasting and how they have to push previous forecasts out of their minds, not compensating for past errors.   Forecasters need the mindset of one individual in particular:

Vulcans Make Excellent Weather Forecasters

197 comments:

Nancy White said...

THANK YOU. Nuff said.

slyris said...

Cliff, you do a great job. I'm scheduled to fly back into Seattle from California Weds night and you are my go-to source for information and planning.

Ignore the idiots who don't understand that weather is probabilistic until it arrives. They aren't worth your ire.

Keep up the great work. You have people reading who understand your work and appreciate your effort. Count me among them.

Unknown said...

Do you think we'll see colder temps out on the coast through the weekend or will it warm up and begin to melt off? We are going to Forks to go fishing and don't want the rivers to blow out!
Thanks Cliff.

Will Merydith said...

I appreciate the updates and the non sensational weather forecasting. Seattle needs to grow up. I'm sick of the snowmagedon and snowpocalypse memes. Other cities think we are a joke because of them.

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Josh Hayes said...

Screw 'em, Cliff. I think they want you to be right the first time and stop changing your darn mind! We have deadlines, you know!

But you're right: stochastic processes can be described, but they're still stochastic right up to the very instant they tip over from our future to the written (one assumes) past. Thanks for all you do.

Unknown said...

Don't soft-peddle it Cliff, tell it like it is. That's why we love you so.

Schmoo said...

I would have them do what you do, and thank them all for it! I don't even bother with other forecasters anymore. If I need more than the iPhone weather widget provides, I check your blog.

Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks Cliff, sorry for the idiots out here in unaccountable internet land.

Jeff Welch said...

"What you have them do?"

Not amend/alter their original posts and predictions without noting that they have done so.

susie said...

Thanks for the up-to-the-minute report. I'm at the junction of I-90 and Rainier Avenue (Judkins Park) and it is dry with white skies. I'll go to bed soon and hope that all the tempest among residents will rise to the skies so we get the snow day that many of us hoped for!! Love reading your blog. I hope you find your dog.

Jason Toon said...

Less certitude in the earlier forecasts would help. You're one of the best at qualifying your forecasts. But just 24 hours ago, even you were using terms like "it seems clear that we are going to have a major snowstorm" and "one of the biggest events we have had in years". I don't mean to sound insulting, but at the moment, "anybody's guess" does seem like an apt description.

Olga said...

keep up the education -- the folks who gripe over changing forecasts seem to lack understanding of this area of science and study. i won't get into politics here, but as conditions change and more information becomes available, it is foolish not to acknowledge that data and act (or prognosticate) accordingly...

J Cline said...

I think the Seattle Times would have you not call them out for a sensational headline, for one.

;-)

Ruth said...

Maybe this is okay and Seattle Public Schools can actually be OPEN all day on Thursday!

Louise said...

A good forecaster will change the forecast as more information and new guidance becomes available. What you have them do?

People have already said what they would have you do. Be clear that you have updated your posts.

Will Merydith said...

I appreciate the constant updates and would expect nothing less. Seattle needs to grow up. I've lived her over 25 years and am growing sick of the recent snowmagedon and snowpocalypse memes. Other cities think we are a joke.

emily said...

thank you!

larchitech said...

Cliff, did you explain to the person that you are not a politician and that you do believe in science?

thatmathchick said...

I would love to see a probabilistic forecast! I understand the sensitive dependence on initial conditions involved in weather prediction, and the probabilistic forecast seems most appropriate. Any chance you could post that as well?

teri said...

Thanks so much for the *updated* forecasts! So good to hear you on KPLU on a Tuesday!

J said...

I think it is a matter of risk communication. Emphasizing the considerable uncertainty in the earlier forecasts would be helpful. Of course it does beg the question of the reliabilty of the predictions and under what circumstances it is appropriate to take action versue wait and see. But the K-12 contingent is very satisfied with teh status quo.

Don said...

I was just made aware of this great blog. Thanks for what you do here. It is a bookmark I expect that I will use regularly.

Dabbling in Dressage said...

Thanks! Cogent as always...

Geoff in Bellevue said...

In response to "what would you have them do" I'd say, have them give the caveat every single time: "Predicting snow in Seattle is very tricky and early forecasts are often wrong. However, as of now... although that may well change for better or worse as we get closer to the event."
And say it every single time you forecast snow. Every time.

Linn said...

Thanks Cliff! It's a tough job...I still hope it snows a lot but I won't blame you if it doesn't.

Julia said...

RE: your editorial comment ...

"When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large scientific method in most cases fails. One need only think of the weather, in which case the prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible. Nevertheless, no one doubts that we are confronted with a causal connection whose causal components are in the main known to us. Occurrences in this domain are beyond the reach of exact prediction because of the variety of factors in operation, not because of any lack of order in nature." --Albert Einstein.

J said...

I think it is a matter of risk communication. Emphasizing the considerable uncertainty in the earlier forecasts would be helpful. Of course it does beg the question of the reliabilty of the predictions and under what circumstances it is appropriate to take action versue wait and see. But the K-12 contingent is very satisfied with teh status quo.

BG said...

Exactly. As Keynes said: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

J said...

I think it is a matter of risk communication. Emphasizing the considerable uncertainty in the earlier forecasts would be helpful. Of course it does beg the question of the reliabilty of the predictions and under what circumstances it is appropriate to take action versue wait and see. But the K-12 contingent is very satisfied with teh status quo.

Mrs. Jansson said...

People are idiots and expect a weather forcast to be 100% accurate all of the time. Screw em I say. We appriciate your expert information.

Emmi said...

Thanks for your update, and for your editorial. All good scientists should strive to use the best information available. If that information changes over time, or if new information becomes available, it shows integrity to acknowledge that fact. I for one applaud your "inconsistency" and appreciate your efforts, even if they mean that I can no longer dream about being snowed in until I have to eat cold chili out of the can with my hands.

Alison said...

Thanks, Cliff. I would rather have clear information about changing conditions as the data change than pretend certainty and hysteria, that's for sure! Thanks for your excellent explanations of what we do and do not know -- and the uncertainty inherent in any attempt to predict anything!

BG said...

Exactly. As Keynes said: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Kelly said...

Thanks Cliff!

Chris Lytle said...

Don't let the dummies get you down, man. Thousands of us appreciate what you're doing.

WPSBlog said...

Cliff, when the Weather Service puts out comments to the effect of this could be "the biggest snow event since 1985," and, where, today, you see major school districts relying on such snow forecasts (see, e.g. Seattle canceling school a day in advance), the flaws in the forecasting models take on a greater importance. If the models are generally insufficient to determine the difference between 2-4" and 8-14" inches for the city of Seattle, more than 24 hours or so out, the professionals I think have a duty to emphasize the failings of today's forecasting technology more than they do. Just my thoughts.

el duderino said...

Cliff, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have people calling out your character or posting other negative comments on what's ostensibly your own personal blog. I find your blog to be incredibly informative and useful and imagine that the time you put into it is not worth any commercial benefits. I hope you can overlook what I'm sure are a vast minority of opinions. -- James Ferguson

Jeff Welch said...

Jesus - you did it again. Adding the Spock thing. You're a professional?

zworks said...

I'll stick with your science over media blowhards any day, Prof. Mass. If there's any way we can get this conversation out as a way to increase general understanding of science (what we know, what we can know, what we don't know, and what we know to be absurd), the more the better.

honilima said...

Ignore the haters Cliff---if you knew all the answers you'd be in Vegas or in the stock market not at the U!

We love your blog and those that don't should just tune out.

Hope you locate your canine.

runway12 said...

Thank's Cliff for sticking with your gut and forecasting this storm to the utmost accuracy. It was very interesting in hearing this site discussed on the commuter train home tonight.

blackcap said...

How much arctic air do you think we will get here in Seattle?

I think the NWS forecast highs for tomorrow in the 30s might be too high. It's now down to 11 in Bellingham. Sure, that air will moderate by the time it gets here, but I don't think it's far-fetched that we won't see temps out of the 20s during the daylight hours tomorrow. Or am I overlooking something?

JUSTIN said...

'Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.' -Spock

Josh said...

Bring it on!!! Olympia needs bucket loads!

Unknown said...

I am sorry if folks don't get that things change in the weather and can change rapidly and without notice and they take it out on you and other forecasters. I have been WA my whole life and one of my favorite sayings here is: If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes... You rock and thank you for all your hard work on this blog. Many of us appreciate it and you!

The Dainty Poodle said...

Thanks for the update. And thanks for being honest, subjective and scientific... and not a headline-chaser.

Tim Flanagan said...

Yeah! Show more "character", Cliff! You and your models and empirical evidence and newer information gathered in closer temporal proximity to the event...sheesh! If I wanted science I'd read a blog written by a scientist! To heck with that...I want snow! :-)

Leo said...

Cliff, thanks for working long hours this week to understand each set of models as they are run and explain them to us. When the early models say it's gonna be big, we need to start preparing. Better that than to ignore them.

The "character" comment is hilarious. It certainly does take a certain kind of character to stick to their initial opinion in the face of contradictory evidence. But not the kind I admire.

Unknown said...

Thank you Dr. Mass for taking your time to educate us. I watch your blog very closely and have learned a lot. More importantly I feel better prepared for the coming weather.

As an amateur weather nut getting access to a leading scientist like you is simply amazing.

BTW: your segment on KIRO today was great.

Thanks again!

larchitech said...

P.S. Thanks for all the information and updates. Between you and the NWS forecast discussion, I have enjoyed watching the evolution of this storm. I do see a trend in these types of things in that they normally start out as bigger than they turn out to be. But I think you explained that in one blog when you said that meteorologists like big weather and that they are the last ones who should be forecasting things because of that bias. On the other hand, who has the passion to do that other than a meteorologist? Cheers, Larchitect

Tim Flanagan said...

Yeah! Show more "character", Cliff! You and your models and empirical evidence and newer information gathered in closer temporal proximity to the event...sheesh! If I wanted science I'd read a blog written by a scientist! To heck with that...I want snow! :-)

Bob said...

Cliff - Thanks so much - really appreciate your blog and your insights. Only a fool would criticize you or anyone else updating predictions as the data become clearer. I suppose the critics would have had the headlines continue to read "Dewey Defeats Truman" after the results were in? Keep on truckin'

TMox said...

Hey, I appreciate your "lack of character." I'd much rather read what you're thinking now and your logic now than what you thought this morning and feel you have to stick with. Thanks.

J said...

The average IQ is 100. People are desperate for certainty and predictability in life these days, and they think it shows strength of character when a public figure doesn't change his mind. It's just sad to see this kind of thinking applied to the weather, which, of all things, is always predictably changeable. Cliff, your commentary is always enlightening. Thanks for all you do!!

Unknown said...

On this blog, we've gone from a predicted minimum of 4" and maximum of 15" at 3 p.m. yesterday to a predicted range of 2-4" at 9 p.m. tonight. It seems that the chance of 15" was no better than the chance we'd get 0", so why mention the outlandishly high number, even if it was a possibility at one point?
You and other forecasters have done a good job of explaining why it's so difficult to predict snowfall amounts in and around Seattle. Given that, though, I don't see any reason to talk about the chance of one-foot-plus totals when an amount even half that is enough to get everyone excited and close the city down for a day.

ljb said...

Thank you for this update. It makes sense that a forecast may change and even become more accurate closer to the event.

Some people just like to whine and complain about everything. For some reason they feel entitled.

Unknown said...

100% agree cliff keep forcasting your way

JW said...

Thank you Cliff. I love reading your blog, and yes, I'm super impressed by those weather maps. Oh, and thank you for your continuous "up to the minute" reports especially as they are changing, I super appreciate hearing about all the changes. Now, I just hope I can sleep, because I'm just waiting to see how much snow we get here at Browns Point. The mystery is exciting. ~JW

Robby said...

this storm forecast has been literally pathetic

Leelie Jones said...

Thanks, Cliff! Your effort and time is appreciated. With that said, I hope you're somewhat wrong tomorrow and we get dumped on!

J said...

The average IQ is 100. People are desperate for certainty and predictability in life these days, and they think it shows strength of character when a public figure doesn't change his mind. It's just sad to see this kind of thinking applied to the weather, which, of all things, is always predictably changeable. Cliff, your commentary is always enlightening. Thanks for all you do!!

Cuyose said...

I think your frustration over the criticism of your colleagues is a direct symptom of the medias need to sensationalize any potential snow event. It is not a surprise to any of us that live in the Seattle area, that any mention of a substantial snow event gets 40% of the evening news time. They already cancelled schools for tomorrow for crying out loud. I especially like your inclusion of an accuracy probability in your latest forecast based on latest data. If news outlets would pay more attention to this, I think we would all be the wiser.

Just Kendal said...

I just came across your forecasts yesterday and they are by far the best, most detailed insights I've seen. I'd rather have an insightful, changing, honest as possible weather report the closer the storm gets than a prediction from a weather station more than 24 hours prior to the event. Let those nay-sayers be damned if they can't understand the complexity of the storm. Had they read your full blog post from earlier, they'd probably understand it better. Or...they really wanted the big snowmageddon and are taking it out on you. Either way, I appreciate your reports!

Howard said...

Cliff - I'll look to your forecasts and insight first in any situation - especially if it changes - tells me you're paying attention to data. Dog update?

mle_ii said...

Yeah, I don't get the folks who wonder why forecasts change or get angry about it. Or that you should stick with a forecast. It isn't a personal opinion, it's a simulation based on current data. The closer you get to the event the more data you have relevent to the event. Science is hard. ;D

Anna McC said...

Thanks for the update Cliff!

An Ordinary Average Guy said...

Cliff, let me thank you for working so hard to keep us informed and to educate us.

Let me also offer my sympathies to you for having to deal with such ignorance and childishness of people getting upset that a forecast changes. I laughed when I read about the person that got upset about the change, realizing that he/she had scant little clue about how it 'all works'. And as to the Times writer, well just consider the source....

Back to the education: I have very much appreciated the education you provide and really enjoyed reading about the process of firming up the forecast(s) and making the comparisons among various models. Knowing just a little bit about computer modeling, it's exciting to see it in action.

In the end, the weather is going to be what ever it is. The prediction is just the effort to, well... predict what it will be.

As far as I'm concerned, that's pretty important. In this case, thanks to you, I'm not going to worry about shoveling my drive way and just try to enjoy what few flakes that fall up North!

Erich said...

This is great information. I don't read your blog much except in these types of "events", but these are really helpful.

Regarding the disdain that it heard, I think it is naturally frustrating to try and think through contingency plans and logistics, with the expectation changing so quickly. And this particular event seems to be an exercise in extremes, from maybe snow to the biggest snow in 15 years to a couple inches at best.

I understand the uncertainty inherent in models, and weather models are as complex as they come. I certainly don't expect a forecaster to equate forecasting models with some form of personal integrity. I just wonder if we could get a sense of the uncertainty relative to the forecast. On Monday night, I didn't hear about the fact that it could be in this broad range; I just heard that 10 - 15" were expected. I'd be OK hearing "somebody is going to get dumped on, but we can't be sure where yet."

Moron Goddess said...

Thank you for such wonderful information! I just discovered your blog last night, and I have really appreciated your explanations about WHY things are happening, and not just that they are happening. Thanks for discussing this intelligently with your audience.

michaelkatze6956 said...

85 and sunny in bali

Kim said...

I appreciate your changing forecasts and your direct acknowledgement that you could be wrong/ the forecast could change! iThanks for all that you do!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your through and well-articulated knowledge for this constantly unpredictable weather. Your passion and genuine desire to inform us is very much appreciated. I am thankful to have you as a resource

Kim said...

I appreciate your changing forecasts and your direct acknowledgment that the forecast could be wrong/could change! Thanks for all that you do!

Jeff said...

Fwiw, I love the fact that you call out what you don't know, and that you dial back forecasts when more benign than anticipated. It's a big reason why I rely on this blog whenever a storm is brewing...and why I've been recommending it to friends.

So please stick with the data-driven analysis. If you always stuck with your original predictions, I'd never believe a word you said...

RM said...

I wish the school districts wouldn't cancel school before actually knowing what's going on. :( Great blog!

batchild said...

The reason I appreciate your forecasts *so* much more than anyone on TV is because you aren't obligated to be definitive.

I get so tired of being told what's coming in 48 hours, and when nothing of the sort happens, there's no explanation (or apology) for the failed prediction.

The TV people have to call it and stick to it; you don't, I expect this and am grateful for it. To suggest that flexibility is a character flaw is powerfully ignorant. Is sticking to an outdated idea preferable to working on getting it correct? Weather changes, so should the forecast.

RM said...

I wish the school districts wouldn't cancel school before they know what's going on. :( Great blog!

Matthew said...

Thank you for the post, Cliff, and I think your editorial comment is much needed! People get hung up on their own previous reactions to forecasts (whether that be anger or elation) and shoot the messenger.

Unknown said...

Cliff, you can change it up all you want. I'm studying weather this quarter at school and I appreciate your efforts now more than ever. I'll bet most people have no idea how many pieces there are to the puzzle of our climate and how difficult is to forecast the weather, especially in the Pacific Northwest. I'm just going to listen to you and learn!

ninaf said...

Thanks for the easy to understand summary. I only blame you for having to go to work tomorrow. Just kidding.

And finally, sh*t Seattle people say when it snows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPeubeuDONI&

I could think of a few more things that people around here would say but its not bad. :)

Dave Galvin said...

Keep the Spock mindset, dude. Don't let the generalists run you into the corner of those wanting a consistent and predictable prediction, when in such challenging circumstances. We need more people to appreciate the difficult challenges of the conversion zone (kudos to Brian Rosenthal of the Seattle Times for pointing this out in a sidebar today). Weather prediction in the Puget Sound area is not for lightweights. -- Dave Galvin

Snowking said...

Looking at radar snow moving northward at a pretty quick pace. Just looking at radar and snow moving north offshore as well i think seattle will get a lot more then just 2-4 inch and i think points north may get quite a bit of snow as well. Just a gut feeling. Not buying all the sudden backing off those huge snow amounts from just 24 hrs ago. More times then not if they say a big snow storm coming it never happens but when the hype a big snow storm and back down at the last min we end up getting nailed. Time will tell be safe everyone and enjoy the snow.

Brad Niemeyer said...

Live long and forecast...

I could not resist.

Thanks for updating your forecast

zandey said...

Cliff,
You blog is thoughtful and poignant.
Thanks for taking the time to share your
insights about what a beast it can be to
forecast the weather in our beloved
Northwest. Keep it up!

Scott Schaefer said...

Forecast long and prosper Professor Mass! Thanks for all you do for those of us who don't follow mainstream weather forecasters...

stepc said...

The issue isn't really in the forecasting, which as an innocent bystander has been interesting to watch unfold and in particular to watch how increasing information is folded together to predict the future. The issue is the ludicrous media spectacle over the forecast. If our media could remain more measured, then informed updated forecasts wouldn't seem like such a big deal.

Muchas G said...

Thanks Cliff! I bet my roommate $10 that we wouldn't have 5" of snow on our deck when we wake up tomorrow. Good bet??

Jacob said...

In situations like this, maybe meteorologists should explicitly state that they're changing the forecast *because of new and better information that has just come in*. We (meteorologists) all know that's why we change forecasts, but it's easy to forget that many people might think we're just changing our mind about the same old information/models/whatever. Thus the "character" comments.

Frank Blau said...

Brilliant as usual.

I am in Chicago (13F and windy, thank you) and I was planning on coming back to Seatac tomorrow evening... given your forecasts, we changed our plans to return thurs evening... to give them a little more time to get things back to normal.

Thanks for all you do for us Cliff!

Jim said...

Cliff, don't let the bastards grind you down. I'm surprised to hear that anyone who considers themselves a reporter of news in this region believes that any weather forecast can be absolute.

The narrative the news wants is one of Major Events. So they'll pounce on "possibility of record snow" and turn it into "we will have record snow". Give them a range of possibility and they'll take whichever extreme gets the ratings or page views.

And then, having staked themselves on the extreme... they'll look for a scapegoat when the result is in the bell curve and not the long tail.

Keep doing your good work. It's appreciated.

Unknown said...

HELP! What about Kitsap County? I live in Port Orchard and we have been conspicuously absent from all local forecasts, including yours. Can you help? Keep up the good work! We turn to your first!

stepc said...

The issue isn't really in the forecasting, which as an innocent bystander has been interesting to watch unfold and in particular to watch how increasing information is folded together to predict the future. The issue is the ludicrous media spectacle over the forecast. If our media could remain more measured, then informed updated forecasts might not seem like such a big deal (to those for whom it seems a big deal).

Jonn-E said...

Perhaps you could post a blog sometime about how forecasters quantify (or guesstimate) uncertainty at temporal checkpoints? Or if that's not reasonable then a discussion of the uncertainty of the input variables for the models?

D. Somers said...

Don't listen to folks who don" know what the hell they are talking about. The world is full of them and they will drive you nuts if you pay them any attention.

Great blog and great information!

D. Somers said...

Pay no attention to the folks who don't know what the hell they are talking about. The world is full of them and they will drive you nuts if you listen too closely.

Great blog and world class information and analysis. Thank you!

k willi said...

I've been checking your blog for updates a couple of times daily. You have plenty of character. Thanks for keepin' it real!

dang said...

Ignore those people who chide you for using common sense. After all, you are *supposed* to change your story as more evidence comes in.

Who would trust an auto mechanic or doctor who didn't change his or her mind when gathering more information? I wouldn't. And for something as chaotic and changeable as weather, of course it's going to change.

Wanderluster said...

You rock, Cliff. And I LIKED your Seattle Times editorial in your earlier post. Also thrilled you're on KPLU. Keep up the great work!

James Lyon, Lead Blogger said...

Thanks for all the hard work Cliff! My entire family exclusively relies on your blog for our weather. One of the things we love most about your blog is that you're willing to change your predictions when you think it's warranted. Keep it up! Thanks again.

AndrewM said...

Our definition of physics, astronomy, botanical classification change over time as we learn more. But the psychology of some wanted a flat earth and 4 elements. Didn't make it so.

Thank you Cliff for being integrous & forthright.

tunk said...

Thanks, only thing I am confused about is "same situation as this morning," which was rain, rain, rain, and lots more rain on Bainbridge. I assume rain and rain again tomorrow for good ol BI? No snow?

gurdygurdy said...

Thanks for keeping us updated with real science. As to the nay-sayers, suggest that they get a crystal ball ;-) The models give us the best they can, but the future is, well, the future.

Corie said...

NWS is saying there is a possibility of freezing rain in the south sound...what do you think??

susaarmont said...

Thanks Cliff - we appreciate your efforts, especially the way you explain what is happening without the hype. Big fans of yours. Hope Leah turns up unscathed.

gshall said...

The criticism you described is spectacularly ignorant and shows the paucity of understanding of how science works. Non carborundum.

Kam said...

Of course, the forecast is likely to change as we get closer to the event. What would we do without your intelligent and thoughtful blog!? I also enjoyed your wonderful book on the weather. Your work is wonderful. Thanks so much

kelly said...

Thank you, Cliff! Now I know how hard this job of meteorology really is... I love your style!

Jim said...

Thanks as always for your forecast and insightful comments.

I was wondering if you might be able to comment on the following question. After reading your blog, I basically understand that your forecast and that of the other meteorologists are based on several large-scale computer models which often provide slightly different results (or widely different results for later time periods). The question is this, when you or the other meteorologists forecast 2-4 inches of snow in Seattle, are you simply reporting the result of the model you think is correct or is it more a subjective assessment of the results of all of the model outputs? Maybe subjective is a poor choice of words and is better represented by "in forecaster's professional judgment." Is there an "art" to interpreting the outputs of these various computer models?

Thanks!

Missy said...

As a geologist, I feel your pain. At least you have lots of data! ;)

Kam said...

I am not sure if my previous comment was actually posted. I wanted to express my great appreciation for your blog, as well as your book on the weather in the pacific northwest. I would assume that any forecast might well change as one gets closer to the event. Your well informed descriptions are a real treasure!

Kevin said...

Just outside walking the dog and I think we are not going to see much snow in Seattle. It just doesn't smell like it. I grew up in New England where snow days off school were few and far between. As a kid, your nose gets tuned - or so we believed - to what a snowstorm smells like.

Thanks for the update! Cheers

John Davidson said...

If you want consistently predictable weather, the PNW ain't a good place to live! The forecasts have gotten a LOT better (especially winds) over the last couple of decades, and this new radar is helping tremendously on storm predictions and plots. It used to be if "they" were predicting a big snow, you could count on it not happening. At least now we know in advance that it isn't going to hit us. Works for me.

Don Carter said...

You did very well. Keep it up.

dude29 said...

Forecasters in Western Washington can't win when it comes to snowfall forecasts. Everybody wants to know exactly how much snow they're going to get in their neighborhood, they want to know it a week ahead of time and they don't want that forecast to change once it's out there.

There will always be someone out there to complain about it no matter what happens, so all the forecasters can do is make the best forecast they can with the data that they have and hope that mother nature doesn't throw them a curveball at the last minute.

I've lived here long enough to know that the weather here, especially when it comes to snow, is never as straightforward as anyone wants it to be and I prepare myself accordingly.

Do I get disappointed when a lot of snow is forecast and we don't get anywhere near as much? Of course, but I can't hold that against the forecasters. It's not like they sit there and say, "You know... I think I want to screw with the people in this neighborhood by telling them it's not gonna snow when I know it's really gonna snow hard. That'll show them". They're trying their best and it's up to the rest of us to roll with the punches the best we can.

AnikkiV said...

you mean you don't control the weather?

Colleen said...

Drat! Crazy-cold (5F here right now) and some northeast wind, with none of the accompanying fun. Logically, Mr. Spock, I understand the reasoning, but...but...it's not fair!

Re your editorial comments, I can't fathom anyone expecting a forecast to stay stagnant in the midst of a weather event. Those of us who are reasonable expect and understand the changeable nature of this game. Having said that, it's possible to reflect that change via updated info, without going so far as to remove previous info. The former approach, in fact, more accurately reflects the changeability factor.

Anyway, thanks for the latest ~ as high and dry as it leaves some of us. *grin*

rgpratt said...

Live long and prosper Cliff.

Westside guy said...

I'm not sure what people are complaining about - unless they're indirectly complaining about their own lack of reading comprehension.

Cliff's previous blog post: "The latest series of model runs are in and to me they suggest we need to scale snow totals down over Puget Sound to 2-6 inches."

From the one before that: "Anyway, lets watch this carefully tomorrow....looks solid...but no forecast is certain and if this prediction goes south, it won't be the first time."

And in the one before that: "The bottom line is that there is a serious threat on Wednesday of 8-15 inches of snow over the region, with a minimal turn over to rain. The biggest snowstorm in years. Anyway, before anyone goes out and buys a snowblower, lets see what tonight's runs show."

Cliff almost always includes a caveat regarding the timing, how far out we're looking, etc. Does he also need to start using the old Netscape 4 style BLINK tags in order for some of you to get it?

As an aside - I loved the very relevant John Maynard Keynes quote in BG's comment!

Sarah Surface said...

Thank you for keeping us up to date on all the weather changes! I truly appreciate it.

And about those people making fun of NWS weathermen, well they just need to realize that weather around here changes...OFTEN!

kak said...

I am fairly certain that a 'forecast' is one's best guess using current information available , I think you have done a wonderful job at providing that here. I think people are upset because they didn't get the guaranteed day off from work they wanted, which includes me! Thanks again for providing great information.

Nephelometer said...

Professor Mass, thanks for the blog. I still remember those discussions from the senior forecasting class and refer to them to this day. Most of us know the chaotic nature of forecasting snow here and I've really enjoyed reading your thoughts over the past few days. They've been reassuring, even if I don't want to believe them and want to see a boatload of snow.

Nick Smith said...

So when exactly is this suppose to arrive time wise?

SteveM said...

I loved the comment by the NWS forecaster that opened the 4 AM Monday 1/16 forecast discussion: "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking."

natchrl8r said...

I am wondering why NWS persists in posting 22 degrees as tonights low temp for Bellingham when it hit 13 by 6PM and is down to 10 degrees at this writing. Don't they track these things?

JeffB said...

I think it is important to note that all of the forecasts Cliff has been making are a great example of why no one believes in Climate Alarmism anymore. If very good and sincere scientists like Cliff can't predict a snow storm accurately more than a few hours out, why would anyone believe the extreme Climate Alarmism of the past 10 to 20 years? Especially when those of us older than 40 can remember several examples of past Climate Alarmism that hasn't panned out either?

Kudos to the average Joe for having a cautious and more Spock like perspective than most meteorologists and climatologists.

Tofu Hunter said...

Thank you for another awesome post. I absolutely appreciate your willingness to change/update your forecast as the models refine their predictions- the alternate sounds like a horrible state of affairs! Thank you for providing the Seattle area with such a valuable weather resource- most everybody I know defaults to you as THE trustable source of weather info. You are much appreciated!

Matt K. said...

Cliff ,

As an engineer I definitely get the progressive estimating. Too often people don't understand the detail behind it all and want to blame the estimate. Keep up the good work!

Olympia, WA

DomainGamer said...

Cliff, I love your blog and everything you do for weather nuts in the NW like myself. I await your next blog post with much anticipation and appreciate the time you take to explain the different models. This is your blog and don't feel like you need to apologize for anything. I'm going to donate money again this year and hopefully everyone reading this will do the same!

Zathras said...

I see a 75% chance of precip using UW Probcast for Wednesday, it also says a 25% chance of more than a quarter inch, and a ten percent chance of more than a half inch of water.

Those sort of numbers tell me we will get two or three inches of snow. I told my neighbor 3-5" yesterday, and gave my wife the same number. I'll go with that for where I live. We had an inch or two today, and I didn't see much on the 4km or the 1km for us, so why not lean a bit on the high side. Always enjoy the blog, the UW models, and Probcast too when it updates, great stuff all of it.

Owl said...

Thank you for the forecasts. Of course, I sort of wish you were wrong, because I love the novelty of a good storm, but it's good to see an objective report from a scientist, not a journalist.

weaselchicken said...

Cliff is running up against a difficult problem, which occurs in several disciplines. How do you communicate nuance, using terms and concepts that people outside of the discipline do not understand?

It's not just about language, but whole conceptual structures that don't translate well, and even some concepts that people don't grasp as well as they think they do - like "risk."

Someone asked "why even talk about the extremes (like a potential 18" snowfall) if the chances are low? Risk is a function of both probability AND impact. The chances of being struck by lightning are quite low, but we tell folks how to avoid it because the impact if it DOES happen is quite high.

I expect Cliff operates this blog, in part, to try and better understand this very problem - and the reactions here are useful feedback. As someone who also struggles with the problems involved in communicating risk, I wish him luck.

julie said...

It must be tiresome to work extremely long hours on days like today and then have people gripe because.....as Westside Guy points out......they didn't bother to read the full blog and it's caveats. You do a great job and we are fortunate to have you.

a progressive crank said...

Well, with 131 comments it's no surprise Mr Keynes has already been invoked. There are countless examples of people sticking with a bad decision and we don't always admire them for it.

I read these posts and it's obvious that the scientists and researchers involved are doing the best they can. Anyone who doesn't understand or appreciate that should go read up on something that already happened: that might suit them better. I'm pretty sure in all the forecasts I've read here Professor Mass has never underestimated any risk. We haven't had a major weather event we had no warning of: that's what we want in a weather expert, someone who gives us the probabilities of a worst case rather than putting the public at risk.

Matter said...

I'm sure there must be some disappointment mixed with curiosity about how weather has seemed to stay a step ahead of the forecasters in some ways and areas. I know that NWS in BOS frequently do a recap of what really happened and compare it to their forecast. I am curious to know how reality differed from the forecast. Thanks for your efforts along with all of your colleagues. Win some, lose some...

Greg said...

Looking at the 0Z UW ensemble, it appears that the NAM and GFS are *considerably* drier than the GEM and TWCB. The other five members are still running as of this post. Cliff, do you have any thoughts about the relative reliability of these models in these sort of scenarios?

The Drennans said...

It it would be pretty easy to make a short blog post to update. "4:35PM models show lower totals, because..."

The clouds look rather ominous on satellite, but it's been looking all day like the low is weakening and the cloud tops lowering. I'm anxious to watch this and see if pans out like the models suggest. There clearly IS a lot of moisture drifting this way, but perhaps decreased lift. On one hand I'm bummed: no records! On the other, relieved-- no major change in plans required, little risk of getting stuck, etc.

Justin Wilkerson said...

Wow, you're popular tonight Cliff. I'd just like to point out that even the media down here in Portland was talking about "as much as 16 inches of snow in Seattle" and my family was all like really? and I just had to shake my head and tell them what is what.

Petzy said...

the underlying point of the Times writer still holds. no, you shouldn't stick with earlier forecasts if the data doesn't hold, but making statements about 8"-14" of snow only undermines your professions claims. aside from saying, 'at this point, [insert 24/26/48 hours out] some models show *potential* for up to xx-yy inches of snow. it's still too early to tell". otherwise it does become anyone's guess. you've made your own bed I'm afraid.

EllenE said...

I thoroughly appreciate your updates, your honesty, and your clear explanations. The regular (read: Seattle Times) media just can't provide the depth of information you do on your blog, and fall back on hysterical headlines. Thank you for your work, and good luck finding Leah. I travel up to that area of MLT regularly and am keeping my eyes peeled for her!

Ellen said...

I thoroughly appreciate your updates, your honesty, and your clear explanations. The regular (read: Seattle Times) media just can't provide the depth of information you do on your blog, and fall back on hysterical headlines. Thank you for your work, and good luck finding Leah. I travel up to that area of MLT regularly and am keeping my eyes peeled for her!

Charlie said...

Yes, change the forecast if you the models/evidence demand it. That should go without saying.

BUT when you make changes to a previously published post, NOTE IT. It's common practice to let people know when you are changing a view, stance or report.

Or, better yet, throw up the few sentences you want to change to in a new post. Can't be any harder than it is to edit a previously posted one.

That's all I've seen people here, readers of our blog, say. There's been no name calling or blaming here. Just a request for clarity from what is a news source for the community.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

You're my number one go-to for accurate information. Thank you - your dedication is very much appreciated

lhsouthern said...

Its 11:38pm here in chehalis and the snow has changed from tiny to nearly half dollar sized flakes. Roads are covered and its been like this for about 1 hour.

Jeffery said...

There's something oddly enjoyable sitting at my computer with my own little war-room in front of me...WS-DOT cameras, radar, etc...watching the storm slowly roll in. It looks like it's going to wollop Olympia and Tacoma in the next couple hours...I-5 already looks unpassable in SW Washington...

Sweetpea said...

I just tried to watch the 11pm weather report on tv and lasted about 3 minutes. Couldn't wait to turn off the dang thing, come downstairs to the computer and see if you'd made an update for tonight. Thanks, Cliff, I for one, appreciate all your efforts & I'll take what you write here to all the jaw-flappers on the tube any day. Nighty night...

Sweetpea, in the San Juan's

Clif said...

The only thing that drives me crazy about your blog is that you go back and edit your posts much later (adding emphasis on different sections, adding content, etc) without making it clear that you did so, and when you did so.

It's disingenuous, bordering on lying. Everyone knows that forecasts change, just be honest about when you change it.

Clif said...

The only thing that drives me crazy about your blog is that you go back and edit your posts much later (alering emphasis/formatting and content) without making it clear that you did so, and when you did so.

It's disingenuous, bordering on lying. Everyone knows that forecasts change, just be honest about when you change it.

Leo said...

You're the best. Straight forward and honest. Keep up the spectacular and credible work.

sk said...

Cliff, thanks for all your time and effort sharing your wisdom.

Is Seattle/Puget Sound inherently more difficult to forecast given the oceans, mountains, and latitude than other regions? I'd love to see you write something about how forecasting varies by location.

Petzy said...

what Jason Toon said

start with less certitude and you'll get more respect. you guys know how critical the low hitting the bullseye is to the amount of snowfall, and this isn't the first time. so short the best you/others at NWS can/should be saying is 'some models show the *potential* for up to xx inches, but we won't know until 24 hours before...'

Buzz's Marine Life Puget Sound said...

Thanks for the update and the great blog......

Joel said...

Thank you Prof. Mass for sharing successes that are perceived as failures, for sharing the excitement of predictions based on reasoning, and ultimately learning more and moving on to the next challenge!

Unknown said...

It's really silly for people to take something like a weather forecast so personally that they call your character into question, Cliff. As everyone here says, don't worry about it.

I will say, I think some of that ire is misdirected disappointment. As I'm sure you know, many Seattleites (myself included) really look forward to go good snowstorm. As long as you don't have to be anywhere, it's a great excuse to take a walk or even just stay in and enjoy the world outside. It's exciting, it's magical, it's not rain. So some people get jazzed about the snow, only to hear, (at least in metro) "It stalled out," or "it just missed us!" So some folks feel disappointed and take it out on the wrong guy in the wrong way. Lame, I know. But I think that's where some of the vitriol comes from.

Anyway, thanks for the great work!

Unknown said...

It's really silly for people to take something like a weather forecast so personally that they call your character into question, Cliff. As everyone here says, don't worry about it.

I will say, I think some of that ire is misdirected disappointment. As I'm sure you know, many Seattleites (myself included) really look forward to go good snowstorm. As long as you don't have to be anywhere, it's a great excuse to take a walk or even just stay in and enjoy the world outside. It's exciting, it's magical, it's not rain. So some people get jazzed about the snow, only to hear, (at least in metro) "It stalled out," or "it just missed us!" So some folks feel disappointed and take it out on the wrong guy in the wrong way. Lame, I know. But I think that's where some of the vitriol comes from.

Anyway, thanks for the great work!

Unknown said...

It's really silly for people to take something like a weather forecast so personally that they call your character into question, Cliff. As everyone here says, don't worry about it.

I will say, I think some of that ire is misdirected disappointment. As I'm sure you know, many Seattleites (myself included) really look forward to go good snowstorm. As long as you don't have to be anywhere, it's a great excuse to take a walk or even just stay in and enjoy the world outside. It's exciting, it's magical, it's not rain. So some people get jazzed about the snow, only to hear, (at least in metro) "It stalled out," or "it just missed us!" So some folks feel disappointed and take it out on the wrong guy in the wrong way. Lame, I know. But I think that's where some of the vitriol comes from.

Anyway, thanks for the great work!

Cynnie said...

It seems logical to me Captain. <3

Stefan Wolczko said...

Thanks for the great information! I really appreciate the understanding of PNW weather you provide for me and many others. We appreciate this service and I hope to keep learning from you!

Jeanette said...

Cliff - please keep up the great work. Your information is one of the few sources firmly based in true science.

jim "shu" carroll said...

who peed in jeff welch's cheerios this morning? thank you for your information and the obvious experience and understanding of an equation with far too many variables. i have lived here 59 years, and the only thing i ever expect is to be uncertain. your reduction of that uncertainty by a significant factor is deeply appreciated. keep smiling.

Woodrat said...

Keep doing things YOUR WAY. When I come here to read your blog, I know it will take into account the best available information and wouldn't want it any other way. Ignore the critics. [Updated: including those who don't like Spock.] It's obvious that some people DID get a major dumping of snow!

jim "shu" carroll said...

did somebody pee in jeff welch's cheerios? thank you for sharing the results of your hard work, experience, and understanding. these are equations with too many variables, as you well know. after living here for 59 years, the only thing i expect is to be surprised. having that uncertainty reduced by a significant factor is deeply appreciated. the charts and stuff are COOL! thank you.

JayD said...

love how you all are defending and ancient and completely unnecessary "science". If you can't predict the weather and are often as far off as the difference between 0" and 15" of snow, what the hell is the point of this practice?

Is the problem that people are expecting these meteorologists to be psychics? No. The problem is these meteorologists are claiming to know more than the rest of us know when we just look out the window. Which, as we found out this week, just isn't the case. Get off Cliff's jock.

Moron Goddess said...

Just wanted to let you know we went from dry roads and clear skies last night at 11pm to around 3 inches (maybe more) of snow at 5am in Kent.

HiDefMathFan said...

Live long and prosper, Cliff!

Unknown said...

I think broadcast journalists and their fake weathermen do a great disservice to everyone with their never-ending desire to create drama. I agree the art of communicating a forecast is a challenge, but I often see the NWS itself do a lot of strange things. For example, yesterday's use by the NWS of the word "incredible" to describe the amount of snow forecast for the mountains. I am surprised that the profession has not developed clearer standards for communicating a forecast.

AoK said...

Thanks Cliff! This is a great blog that I just recently discovered and already love!

I don't mind that you update the blog entry for accuracy! What's most important is knowing that the blog is up to date and as accurate as can be.

Knowing that when reading the entry is much more important than knowing it was updated. I actually think your strategy is the best.

Gimp said...

Longview/kelso received 7 to 8 inches. Clatskanie Oregon hills have 2 feet. Got stuck at work on a graveyard shift. Love the blog Cliff.

d33ann said...

Like everyone else says, you are my go-to source for weather, once it goes beyond the needs of my weather app on my phone. Thank you for what you do, and for being a SCIENTIST, not a talking head.

Unknown said...

Wow. The snow hit hard around Olympia. Near Oyster Bay Rd we've got 13 inches as of 6am this morning and its still coming down.

wanne1 said...

We have 4-5 inches on south Vashon and it's still snowing! Love your blog, Cliff. It's so interesting to see the the data and how you go about making a forecast. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

I think the problem is that the expectations were set a few days before that this was going to be a big event for the main puget sound and as things got closer, the event got smaller and smaller. Essentially, it took being six hours away from the event to know what was going to happen.

The average layman doesn't know that predictions and sophisticated models really are just guesses. When I hear an experienced weather man, or in this case ALL of them, tell me we are headed for record snow, I believe them.

The moral of this is: don't listen to them until the night before the event, and even then, realize they could still be wrong.

Corlissmedia said...

Newspapers are a dying media. It doesn't surprise me that a reporter/commentator/editorialist for Seattle's ONLY newspaper would be insulting. Consider the pressure they're under to sensationalize what they write in the (vain) hope of getting 1 person to actually pay .75 cents for the (crapola) material they "publish." I think you're GREAT! I love your intelligence! I know the world is more than black and white (like newspapers are/were), and I wish you were back on KUOW.

Woodrat said...

Got a solid 12" of dry powder snow in my yard in west Olympia right now at 0745. Nine inches fell overnight. Woot!

Kevin said...

Cliff, just want to say that I have only complete and utter respect for what you do which is, essentially, trying to foretell the future. I think the people who give you a hard time don't understand the complexities involved with predicting the weather...especially around here! Being a weather nerd, I love your in-depth forecasts and reading your blog makes me wish i would have taken one of your classes while I was at UW! All compliments aside, I hope the models are wrong and the snow lasts longer!!! :)

badmomgoodmom said...

RE: One individual told me I needed to show more "character" and be strong enough to stay with my original forecast.

Isn't that a hallmark of a good scientist, to change your mind in the face of new evidence/data?

I listened to a farce on NPR last weekend as a scientist tried to talk rationally to a young "climate change skeptic". The young student refused to change her mind as the scientist patiently explained that the evidence doesn't support the skeptic's conclusions. But it didn't matter b/c she had ALREADY MADE UP HER MIND and she wasn't going to change it.

It was aggravating to listen to it. But, I hang around scientists all day and need to be reminded how other people draw conclusions.

epjmcginley said...

Mud Bay at sea level west of west Olympia... Snowpocalypse... easily a foot, still snowing.

dogdad said...

The biggest problem facing weather forecasters is not that their predictions change, but that each time they present one it is usually with a great deal more certainty than they really have. Cliff, at least, presents each prediction with an explanation of why the probability is high or low, which properly sets up the listener's expectation for later revisions.

epjmcginley said...

Mud Bay sea level, west of west Olympia... Snowpocalypse... easily a foot on the ground, still falling.

Jen Ely said...

Thanks - have been enjoying the forecasts - no haters in Ravenna.

eastside kid said...

Then why should we listen to you, or any forecast at all? If they change so much that the only accurate forecast is what's going on right outside my window, what's the point?

You speak of the psychology of forecasting? Look at all the comments. How about the psychology of a belief system that says we cannot trust any forecast if it changes so much that a major winter storm because an inch or two?

How many millions of dollars are spent/wasted on the incorrect forecasts? Do you remember whole school districts shutting down (like today) only to see not a drop of snow?

IF this is the best I can get, I'll go buy a dart board.

50 foot QE said...

Thanks Cliff for your thoughtful and informed blog. This has been an exciting week. I am from Boston, MA and I have been fascinated by these snow "events". You have made it richer. We have about 4"out here on the West Slope of Tacoma (overlooking the Sound) and it is still snowing and blowing.

Thinking of Leah.

Emily Pfeifer said...

Hey Cliff, my friends, family and coworkers all love your blog. I really appreciate your work at informing the public of the nuance of meteorology and forecasting.

That said, I'm really disappointed to see ads appearing on your blog. Are they really necessary?

Martin Milner said...

Hey Cliff you do a great job, I live up here on Salt Spring Is. BC on the edge of your forecast area and I rely on your forecasts and I love all the interesting related weather information, keep up the good work....Martin Milner

mig said...

8 inches in north central Tacoma, 6 of which is new overnight. Nice cross-country skiing this morning!

Vic's reflections said...

It is 9 a.m. in Friday Harbor and the unpredictabilty of this weather pattern is being witnessed out my front window. Heavy snow is falling right now and accumulatiing...2 inches since I woke up at 7 a.m., on top of the two inches overnight., and no let up in sight...Sledding anyone...schools are closed, kids are loving it.

sojama said...

I was going to say what slyris said. Love your blog. You've made weather fascinating. Negative and ignorant omments like that are probably just the downside of having a popular blog.

Megan Baldwin said...

About 2 3/4" of snow in the Issaquah highlands right now and STILL snowing strong!

GaryP. said...

Hey Cliff! I read your blog and I totally get how difficult it is to forecast the weather around here. Weak systems interacting make for uncertain forecasts. I will say that over the 30 years I've been here the NWS has gotten a lot better.

And BTW we have about 4 inches in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue.

Oh and budget cutbacks at newspapers have left us with no decent writers or editors.

kennypojke said...

This timepiece from Almost Libe should bring a few o you smiles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM0Jynoflzo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

stevemcn said...

I just measured 7" in my back yard on the east hill on the Renton/Kent border. Seems to be changing to a hard snow, freezing rain, rather than puffy flakes.

Baillywick said...

Hi from SW Oly.Whew!!! Over a foot new this morning, 33 degrees, still fine snow falling, :( wind starting. Expect broken branches. Tied for worst with 1996-7 so far. Can't go anywhere.

Susan said...

Finn Hill in Kirkland, snow yesterday 2-3". Snow already today over 1" at 9AM. Am thinking inches of snow may be more than 2-4 predicted, BUT, since it's a drier snow, are the inches more than with a wet, heavy snow? Same amount of precip, just fluffier? I grew up in WI so am familiar with shoveling, and up until today, the snow has been very dense, wet, and heavy. Temp is now 28, 3 degrees colder, so expect that snow will be lighter, an is definitely smaller flakes.
Thanks,

olyroller said...

We have just hit a foot of new snow in south Olympia (about 1.5 mi ne of airport) at 200' elevation. About 16" inches on the ground total. Time to strap on the snowshoes.

Danusunt said...

Leschi - SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! Real fine flakes, but 6 inches so far. I'm not driving anywhere. That ice cream man got his little jeep stuck an he's camped out in front of my fireplace. Not really, but wouldn't THAT be idea? I'm not afraid of ice cream on a cold day. Bring it!!

John Marshall said...

I suspect there may be some common ground between those with conservative world views (belief in unchanging absolutes) and those who dislike the idea of evolving, changing forecasts.

Science is messy and sometimes aggravating, but its the only way we have to search for truth, which of course is ever changing as we learn more.

A weather forecast is nothing more than a scientific search search for truth, and the further we move toward the valid time of a forecast, the better it gets. Its still WAY better than looking out the window.

I find reading both Cliff's blog and the three times a day updates to the NWS scientific forecaster discussion is the way to go. That way I understand the level of uncertainty and know where the forecasters believe the most volatility in their forecast exists and how they are translating that into forecasts. In other words, I get a pretty good idea what is likely to hold and what is likely to change. Where the forecasts have skill and where they are an educated guess.

I rarely look at the actual forecasts, but instead look at the assumptions behind them.

I say, bring on probabalistic forecasting including some kind of estimation of confidence intervals along with more frequent forecast updates. Tools can easily be developed to give us Push notifications when a probabalistic forecast changes by a specified amount from our previous look, thus alerting us to significant change.

The concept of a twice a day weather show (emphasis on show) on local TV is very 20th century.

John (an older retired guy who loves everything the 21st century could bring if we can pull our heads out of the last century and embrace it.)

Mike said...

Light dry powder has been falling in Kirkland (Everest Park neighborhood) all morning. Accumulations 2" at 9 a.m. and easily 4-5" now, on top of the light snows of Monday and Tuesday and the 6" of wet snow on Sunday. This is a very different powdery snow, just a few degrees colder makes a real difference. But there seems to be plenty of precipitation in the air, I think this snowfall will be at the high end of Cliff's forecasts (whom I trust!)