Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Why Looking At Long Range Modeling For Specifics Is Silly

There are some things you can pick up from long range modeling. Threats of storms -- general timeframes where a storm may impact an area or areas of real estate.

Getting worried about specifics, frankly, is a pointless exercise this far out.

Case in point -- the Euro computer model's depiction of a possible storm for the middle of next week. Two different runs show two vastly different scenarios.  First, Monday night's run of the Euro shows the potential for snow along the East Coast with a storm that gets cutoff, bombs out, and slowly tracks through the Northeast. Some snow would fall in such a scenario, especially in the Poconos and Appalachians to our west.

Twelve hours later?  A weaker, faster moving storm bringing 60 degree weather and rain for everyone east of Pittsburgh.

Two runs of the Euro computer model -- two completely different results because of a track shift of 300 miles.

Two runs, two vastly different scenarios.  The farther out from today one is the greater the odds of wild oscillation in computer modeling for a given point. Modeling can sniff out general patterns but will not often sniff out specifics with storms at this point in time for a given point.

If we went a step further and included last night's Euro in this, we have a third where high pressure dominates and puts a cold air dam in place for a couple of days with periods of light rain of us and perhaps light snow in the Poconos before turning over to rain as warmer air moves in ahead of the storm...which was pushed back to Friday the 15th.

In essence, don't get wrapped up on details when three consecutive long range runs of a model can't get those details right.

As such, it's not appropriate to get into details with a storm that may or may not happen ten days out. Good forecasters will mention that a storm could impact the region in a certain timeframe and that patterns may be favorable for storms. Getting into the finer points about what ultimately falls from the sky -- whether it's frozen or liquid and what track that low takes -- get hashed out once we get within a week of a storm.  Until then, it's eye candy on a screen (or paper) but something that meteorologists shouldn't spend a ton of time discussing from a specifics and details standpoint.