Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Placing The Fork In The Winter of 2012-2013

It looks pretty likely that the measurable snow season for Philadelphia is done with last Monday's one to four inches of snow.  We can officially close the book on winter 2012-2013 for all intents and purposes, one that was essentially a split personality winter -- cold at the end, warm at the start, and not very snowy in between despite many pittance snowfalls on the whole.

Our final snowfall tally of 8.3" is more than the winter prior but pales in comparison to our average of 21.8".

In terms of forecasts, nobody came close to predicting eight inches of snow for the winter.  Our forecast of 20-25 inches was off by a good bit but was just below Fox 29 in terms of closest to the mark...although it would be like barely hitting the dartboard in comparison to what really fell.   As we stated back in November when we issued our winter forecast, snowfall forecast predictions are a wildcard since snow is dependent on many different factors...and any forecast for seasonal snowfall should be taken with a rather large grain of salt.   However, most of us are fixated on the snow and not the temperature...and such misses get magnified a bit more heavily.

In terms of temperatures, we did relatively well.  While we did not forecast enough warmth in December compared to what actually occurred, we did quite well with January and February. The pattern itself was called well, with our flip from warmth to chill occurring in latter January, save for those two very warm days at the end of January.

In terms of the local broadcasters, most everyone correctly called for a colder February among those that made such a call.  Among those that produced a monthly temperature breakdown, CBS 3 missed on December and January by going for average and not above average.

In a perfect world, these forecasts would be a lot easier to grade and provide an apples comparison if all forecasters produced a similar forecast style (temperatures by month or temperature departures to normal by month, plus overall snowfall tendency if they were inclined to do so).  Since each station does it their own way, it is a bit more difficult to figure out who "got it right" this winter among the TV folk.  On our end, we're satisfied with how our seasonal forecast panned out from a temperature standpoint...although for the sake of the snowbirds it would have been nice for them to get closer to normal snow.  Perhaps next winter!