Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Forecast Eisenhower Would Have Liked

Plans are nothing; planning is everything
- Dwight David Eisenhower

I've always liked that quote and, although the analogy isn't perfect, I thought of it when I woke up this morning and looked back on the forecasts from yesterday.

Those forecasts (see previous posts), called for a frontal band to move into the Wasatch overnight and give them 3-6" of snow or so, followed by a break late this morning and afternoon.  

Instead, the front stalled to our west.  It gave some decent snow to the northern Wasatch, but only an inch overnight at Alta.  Instead of the break, however, the precip shield that was expected to intensify over eastern Utah pushed far enough north to give us snow this morning and it was heavy at times in upper Little Cottonwooed.  Note the interval stake at Alta-Collins went from 1-7 inches in 2 hours.  Nice!

Even now, although showers are light, we're still under the back edge of the precip shield. 

Source: NCAR/RAL
I thought of Eisenhower's quote primarily because when I looked at things this morning, the pattern actually made perfect sense, even if the results were different than expected.  Nevertheless, forecast amounts, errors in timing and intensity are quite significant for highway and avalanche forecasting and this morning is a reminder that we have more work to do to get the gory details right.  

Thursday talk:

FYI that I'll be giving a talk at Gore Auditorium at Westminster College at 7 PM on Thursday (12 Nov) on the Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth.  The talk is free and open to the public with a book signing before and after if you are interested.  Click here for more info. 

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