Think It's Easy to Forecast Snow?

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By Quincy Vagell on February 1, 2013, 4:00pm Last modified: February 4, 2013, 11:50am

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Forecasting snow.
It's one of the most important forecasts, yet it can be the most challenging. 

Snow can be pretty to look at, but when it comes to how it impacts people's day to day lives, it can also be the most difficult type of weather to travel or make plans in.

Forecasting snow is not as simple as looking at a computer model and spitting out a forecast. In fact, there are many variables that can affect how much snow will fall.

-Temperature: How warm is the air, ground or higher up in the atmosphere?

-Mixed precipitation: Will snow change to rain or ice? Or vice virsa.

-Storm track: Will the storm travel inland, turn out to sea or go up the coast?

-Computer models: There are literally dozens of different forecasts for every storm.

-Timing: Will the snow impact travel/school? When will snow start or end?

-Bands: Will the snow be very heavy in certain areas, or will it be light?

-Moisture: Can the snow reach the ground, or is the air too dry?

-Shore vs. valley vs. hills: Elevation and location can drastically change snowfall amounts.

-Extended forecast: Storms can change direction or simply not develop at all.

-Ratios: Snow to liquid ratios affect just how much snow can accumulate.

Check out this slide-show for a detailed look at each of the variables above and how it can drastically affect snowfall forecasts.


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Quincy Vagell

Town: Marlborough, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since January 2012.

Articles: 875

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