What a week! After a minor appetizer at the start, the major winter storm that we had been seemingly tracking forever impacted our state on Wednesday and Thursday. For many, it was the largest snowfall since March 2018. Now that the storm has passed and we have had time to breathe, it's time to post our grade.
As you know, we grade ourselves to get better and hold ourselves accountable. For this storm, we are using the following criteria from our final forecast: snowfall accumulation, timing, wind, power outages, and overall impact.
For this storm (and perhaps moving forward) I decided to weigh the snowfall accumulation twice as much as the other elements. I think this may be a bit more fair given this is what the general public cares about the most. Let's dive in.
As the map above shows, we decided to go pretty big with out snow accumulation forecast. We upped our numbers from our original forecast of 8-16" and with the benefit of hindsight, that didn't work out. That said, it wasn't a surprise that some areas inland received less snow, as we communicated that the banding nature of the storm could bring some variation in snow totals. We did particularly well with our SE zone forecast, and did ok with our inland forecast with a number of towns ending up at the 12" mark.
However, there was a bit too much variation with dry slotting and a real surprise to us with far SW CT doing poorly relative to the rest of the state due to the combination of dry slotting and mixing with sleet. I'm a little disappointed personally since it was my call to take the numbers up, but it wasn't a disaster.
We did well here. We expected snow to break out late afternoon and early evening and that's what happened. SA noted that heavy snow would would cross the state in the evening hours and that was right with the first big band that rolled through the state shortly after our call for snow for everyone after 8-9pm. We were right on the snow banding after midnight, and the burst of moderate to heavy snow early Thursday. Great job here.
Despite some of the guidance trying to bring blizzard conditions and high winds, we were confident that we would not verify blizzard conditions and wind would be relative pedestrian. We thought 35-45 mph would be the max gust along the shoreline and both Bridgeport and Groton gusted to 47 mph. To be within 2 mph is an excellent call.
Not much to say here. We didn't expect widespread power outages due to the snow being lighter (it was in most places but not everywhere which I'll get to below) and there being less wind. There were no major power issues from what I saw.
We did end up seeing a major winter storm. This was a high impact event despite the timing. Most places saw double digit snowfalls, as we expected, and conditions were hazardous Wednesday night and Thursday morning, as expected.
However, we need to deduct points for the under forecast of mixing. We were fine in northern CT and much of inland CT, but more areas along the shoreline mixed than expected, which caused heavier wetter snow to fall. For anyone that expected to shovel powder but ended up shoveling concrete, that's a meaningful forecast miss.
Overall, we did very well. The snowfall forecast was off for too many in SW CT, but it wasn't a bad forecast. We were spot on for many of the other elements, and while we under forecast the mixing in coastal CT, it could have been a lot worse. Factoring all the elements in and weighing the snow accumulation forecast 2x, we did well. That's important, because reputations are build on the high impact forecasts.
Final Grade: B+
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