Forecasting winter storms is one thing...it's another when all the elements are still scattered across the map. That's what the case was last night watching this snow storm. It's like having a jigsaw puzzle on the table in a bunch of pieces...and you hope that they all fit together. It was white knuckle time yesterday as Marvin and company were really wondering if this storm was going to come together. The pieces of the puzzle were several. A strong trough across the east. Upper level disturbances coming through the trough. A developing low off the coast. And plenty of really cold air aloft. and questions...there were plenty. Would the upper level disturbances fit into a developing storm off the coast? What if the upper level energy dove to far south? Was this storm really going to develop? Last night we had our doubts. There's an old saying.."until you see the white's of its eyes" it may not happen. And it was touch and go there for a while last night...with some weather offices thinking this would not pan out. The models were backing off a significant storm. Uh oh. They decided to "sit tight" with the warning's and advisories...and to their credit they did.
Looking back to the weekend...I didn't forecast snow for Tuesday. Why? The models were all over the place. The NAM and the GFS were not to aggressive with the snow. I do admit I should have put in a POP (probability of precipitation) earlier on..and I finally did after seeing something going on in the models. The European Model performed the best with this storm..latching on to the storm Thursday or Friday....and keeping it going. Way to go European!!
So if we do get another "snow event" coming up..I'll look to the European first..the GFS second..and the NAM last. To their credits all the models had very cold 850 mb temps..so if anything fell it was going to be snow. It was the placement of the precipitation that was troubling for a while. The NAM being too conservative. The GFS finally came around. The European "rock solid".
In the end the forecast did verify. Four to six inches inland and about one to three for everybody else. Normal snowfall across eastern Carolina is typically 3 to 4 inches per year...so we've reached our quota already. More snow on the way? Not for the next week or so. In fact near 60 on Friday...goodbye snow.