First Flirt With Winter

NC Weather Happens is the new kid on the block, so let’s see how we did with our first flirt with winter.

Nothing works better than a Timeline!

  • 11 Days Prior: December 9, 2014 the European began showing a winter outbreak in the Piedmont. Article. In this article we discussed the potential for a 12/16 through 12/19 event. The model went from showing absolutely nothing to a 9 inch snow. Recognizing that this seldom happens, we chose to not show the pretty pictures of 9-13 inch snowfall totals and just advise followers to start paying attention to the weather for that time frame. To use a direct quote, “Reminder: It is way to early to start making forecasts with snow totals as is popular on social media so be careful out there.”
  • 10 Days Prior: Meanwhile, Social Media lit up with snowfall accumulation maps and forecasts. “Alerts” were issued. NC Weather Happens held ground and posted an article on “What Makes a Reputable Forecast” We just believe that here in our region of NC, a model that is 10 days out is going to change. Plus, we couldn’t see how that much snow would fall when the air temp and ground temp were above freezing…something that just doesn’t allow for a major snow like the European was showing. Meanwhile, the other major models, (the GFS and the Canadian) weren’t showing anything and their thermal profiles made sense.
  • 9 Days Prior: On the 11th, we posted the “Get Ready for the Pineapple Express” article. Not only was the system slated for the 19th showing up stronger, but there was a succession of Pacific storms that could impact us. A good opportunity to educate and inform rather than “hype” and “speculate”. There was nothing concrete to show in the long-range models…still too warm for 9 inches of snow. Meanwhile, social media weather sites we distributing startling maps generating lots of attention and engagement.
  • 8 Days Prior: December 12th, the models showed nearly nothing for the Piedmont! Article posted called “Where’s Our Christmas Snow” came out… This was our first PUBLIC mention that it was too warm for so much snow and that the models were not going to be of any help. The models also pushed the event to the 19th-20th time frame, so this is where the clock starts. A full 8 days lead time!
  • 7 Days Prior: “Winter Weather Opportunity” posted. Social Media was going wild with accumulation maps and snowfall totals! We held our ground here and shared what we knew to be true. It was just going to be too warm on the ground to have accumulating snow. This article even said so! For a forecaster, the 7 day range is when you heave to make a stand. We did, while everyone else wanted you to cancel Christmas and divert your travel plans! NC Weather Happens broke from the pack that was forecasting SNOMAGEDDON and began forecasting…nothing.It was just going to be too warm…
  • 6 Days Prior: A good quote to start with… “NC Weather Happens is an advocate of responsible and ethical weather reporting and we continue that by advising caution when sharing pretty pictures of snowfall totals unless there is high confidence in the outcome. Today, confidence is extremely LOW that we will receive snow.” So at 6 days out, we said there is low confidence that it will snow. In the future, we will be more responsible with that term and say…Snow Accumulation. It did in fact snow in the Piedmont, but it melted immediately. No accumulation.
  • 5 Days Prior: “So, What’s it going to do? Until we see evidence that more cold air from Canada can work its way here, this looks like a Wintry Mix and Saturday morning may cause some travel issues“. After another look at models and local data, this was the solution we held on to…all the way to today December 20, 2014. This is important to note…5 days out with a confirmed forecast for the event… Not blowing horns here, but did any other site or broadcast met step out on the 5 day? The models were in chaos! It was virtually unpredictable, but we saw through the models and forecast something you could plan your day by. By 3 days prior, you could almost hear the collective deflation of social media forecasters as this was becoming a bust for snow. Thankfully and skillfully, we held our ground…alone.

The Piedmont of NC spans from the foothills to about Chapel Hill. This is our area of expertise. We know this region well and all its little quirks. Our mission is to provide you with a reliable and trustworthy source of weather information on the Web and Social Media without Hype or Bias. We don’t care if it snows or not!

NC Weather Happens is a place where you not only get the weather, but weather related topics that can be fun and very interesting. We run a state of the art website with current weather information for everyone from students to Emergency Managers. We hope you stay with us through the Winter season and especially hope you will subscribe to get posts like this through email as next year, you won’t be as well-informed on Facebook.

Our Score: 8 out of 10. The models started getting really interesting and diverted our attention from  our local knowledge of the area…so we lost our balance and focus midway through the period. We’ll not do that again!

NC Weather Happens. Enjoy it!

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