Thursday, November 29, 2007

Saturday Snowfall: Wednesday Night Forecasts

Omaha TV forecasters widely speculated on the possibilities of a winter storm Saturday during their late evening newscasts Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service forecast office in Valley, Neb., the storm system will bring a mix of precipitation to the region beginning Friday night.

Here is the rest of the NWS advisory, issued at 5:30 a.m. Thursday:

The precipitation is expected to begin as freezing rain and sleet after midnight Friday and continue through early Sunday. Rain and freezing rain are most likely Saturday across Southeast Nebraska and Southwest iowa. A mix of snow and freezing rain is more likely north of Interstate 80, with the heaviest snowfall across far northeast Nebraska and West Central Iowa. The exact path and timing of the system are still somewhat uncertain. So it is too soon to forecast specific precipitation amounts and types for any one location.


In alphabetical order, here are summaries of each Omaha station's forecast Wednesday night (at either 9 or 10 p.m.):

KETVKETV Chief Meteorologist Bill Randby said the key is where a cold front from the north mixes in with moisture coming from the south.

"Do we just get a little bit of snow, then quickly change over to rain and not have an ice storm? Or is the ice storm in Tekamah or Sioux City? I feel pretty confident there is going to be an ice storm across part of eastern Nebraska and a good chunk of Iowa. And a very heavy snow - something on the order of a foot for some people - certainly up toward the Sioux Falls area (and) southern Minnesota."

Later, Randby told co-anchors Julie Cornell and Rob McCartney "if the colder air stays in here ... a historical thing that our computer models don't handle well, we could be talking about just a substantial icing event."

KMTVKMTV Chief Meteorologist Ryan McPike said moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and tropical moisture out of the southwest figure into the system, with the storm track appearing to be just south of Omaha.

"At the very least, we're going to see some type of wintery precipitation," McPike said. "It may start as a little frozen precipitation, go to rain Saturday afternoon and then maybe some light snow as the cold air works in behind this system."

McPike said it is still a bit early to forecast what type of precipitation, but "things are coming together."

"It looks like the track will be near us, or a little bit south which is favorable, especially south of us, for wintry weather," he said. "I don't think moisture is going to be a problem. Certainly the cold air is going to be in place. It just kind of depends how deep that cold air is as to what type of precipitation we see."

KPTMKPTM Chief Meteorologist Tyson Pearsall told viewers his forecast was an early indication of what was going to happen and that it would be updated over the next couple of days.

"(The) best chance for accumulating snow - possibly eight or more inches - as you start to make your way toward Northeastern Nebraska up around Sioux Falls, northwest Iowa, too, " Pearsall said. "Further off to the south, right here in the Metro, from Lincoln down toward Plattsmouth, a little bit of everything. Freezing rain a concern. Snowfall a concern. Sleet a concern, too. You can see the snow line of about four plus from just about Omaha north, then freezing rain becomes a big concern as we go across eastern, southeastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa, too."

Pearsall said one computer model puts "96 one-hundredths of an inch of precipitation - nearly the equivalent of one liquid inch of moisture" - on Omaha.

WOWTWOWT Chief Meteorologist Jim Flowers showed a graphic revealing information from two computer models, one keying in on ice and freezing rain, the other keying in on freezing rain that turns to rain.

"Looking at these rains, as far as freezing rain goes, both are giving us over half-an-inch of freezing rain before any potential changeover," Flowers said. "So that's the key we're looking at now as far as surface temperatures as we head into Saturday."

Flowers said somewhere in the pink area on his "Potential Ice Storm" graphic is looking at a fairly significant ice event. "It would tend to favor the northern half of the area, but we will of course keep you apprised as those models keep coming in over the next couple of days."

Want even more details? Read the station weather blogs:
KETV
KMTV
WOWT

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh god, I'm a nervous wreck!!

Omababe said...

Well, I was hoping this year, since our first actual snow came unexpectedly, that the stations would not be spazzing out and tripping over each other trying to out-do each other in sensationalizing the first major storm.

I guess I was wrong, huh?

SmooveB said...

Omababe:

To the contrary. The weatherguessers have been storing their excitement, hyperbole, and general giddiness since the spring.

Anonymous said...

Bill Randby as usual is giving every conceivably scenario and not committing to anything. Therefore, after the event is over he can say he was right when in reality he never really committed to anything at all. I can't count the number of time that he puts Omaha right on the line of snowfall amounts. Then there's McPike who actually committed to something (ice to rain to snow.) I'll give him that. However, he usually commits to the wrong forecast. Don't even get me started about that insane graphic that Fox put up. What the hell does 10%4+ mean? Is that some kind of code that I'm supposed to know? He did work with Randby for a while so I guess he's got an excuse. Then there's Flowers. Usually the most accurate when it comes to winter forecasting, but they treat the information like top secret government documents. I understand things change, but can we get some kind of specific forecast more than 30 seconds before the snow starts?

One thing's for sure, we're going to see a lot of on-air orgasms between now and Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Pretty cool screenshots.

Anonymous said...

isn't the job of a weatherman obsolete, i mean really? plus, jim flowers' mustache gives me nightmares.

stella was a diver and she's always down said...

Bill Randby and the entire KETV Nerd-Herd Storm Team crack me up.

I think it must be written in their contracts somewhere that they must say the words "Live Super Doppler Seven Radar" at least 15 times when they present their forecast.

I mean, how can you doubt these guys when they've got SUPER technology.

Anonymous said...

And yet the best weatherman I ever saw was someone that didn't use any of this technology. He was a military trained meteorologist and worked for the weather service for years before entering into the television ranks. He mapped everything out by hand and watched the jet stream and was correct 80% of the time. Why...with all the technology, can't they match that or even surpass that?

Anonymous said...

Who says they aren't? Have you been keeping track of things so that you can share your numbers with us?
I just love it when armchair weather people throw out numbers & believe them as gospel!!

Anonymous said...

I knew it was gonna snow the first time!! Because Nathan Moore is the best weather guy ever!

Anonymous said...

1:02 PM:

As a matter of fact I have and the best I have seen on an extended forecast (that means within a four day range) has been 57% and that comes from Bill Randby and team. And just so you know, my degree is in statisics and we ran an informal study on this not that long ago. Numbers don't lie my friend.

Anonymous said...

Why should they have to provide numbers when these yahoos are wrong most of the time anyway. Oh and lest the hyper sensitive idiots at six think I am picking on only them; I am talking about all FOUR stations. Name the last big storm that they called correctly. I challenge you.

Anonymous said...

Heres a link to what they said during the blizzard last March:
http://tinyurl.com/24doce

Now if someone can just remind us how much snow we got so we can declare a winner.

Anonymous said...

I think Matt Perrault should be calling the weather...

Anonymous said...

What Does this Have to do with Tom Osborne...Jeez

Anonymous said...

Anywhere between 12 to 15 inches she said...





Oh sorry...of snow that is...;)

Anonymous said...

Or Todd and Tyler for that matter...? Wait a minute...Ryan McPike works for Action 3...which is owned by Journal...which owns Z-92...which is owned by...tah dah...Todd and Tyler!

Anonymous said...

You know, why do the weather guys always take the brunt of every person's ire? These guys are doing the best they can and weather at times can be an inexact science. Cut them some slack people. Be happy that you have someone out there that is watching this for us.

To all the guys at each of the stations, and I watch you all from time to time, you are all doing a magnificent job. Keep up the good work and ignore the boo birds out here.

Signed,

An appreciative viewer

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Weather Folks, you're doing a heck of a job (Do I sound like George Bush?)

All things considered, a 58% success rate isn't too shabby. We're just glad you're not in the business of saving lives.

Anonymous said...

Hey...if it were baseball, they'd be a superstar.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:57, are you talking about Nash Roberts from WWL in New Orleans? (currently retired)

Anonymous said...

Like Jim Rose, I am having a nervous breakdown over this potential storm. I just can't cope. Help me Mr/s weatherman/woman.

Anonymous said...

I'm locking all my doors, loading the shotgun, boarding up the windows and I'm gonna hunker down in the basement with a can opener and some green beans and pray to God that I can outlast the "2007 Significant Ice Event!" (insert dramatic music)

Anonymous said...

......MY PREDICTION IS THAT IT IS GOING TO BE TOO WARM SATURDAY FOR THE ICE AND SNOW TO CAUSE MUCH PROBLEM!......ANY IDIOT CAN TELL THAT IT IS GOING TO BE TOO WARM......THE TV WEATHER GUYS ARE FULL OF CRAP AND NEED TO KEEP THEIR STINKING LOUSY GRAPHICS OFF OUR TV SATURDAY WHEN WERE TRYING TO WATCH FOOTBALL!

Anonymous said...

the weather guys are correct only about 60 percent of the times...which is still six times more often than Matt Perrault is on his show.

Speaking of which...Is the rumor true that BS590 originally offered The Big Show to a chimpanzee at the Henry Doorly Zoo, but the chimp turned it down because they wouldn't pay him enough in bananas? And so they settled on their second choice, but realized that the class president from the Iowa School of the Deaf didn't translate well to radio? And that they were down to choosing between Matt and Rosie O'Donnell, but Rosie wanted Burger King delivered to the studio every 20 minutes? So it was either Matt or four more hours of Travis Justice and they figured Omaha listeners have already suffered enough?

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm sorry it is hard to predict EXACTLY what will happen when it highly depends on the EXACT storm track and EXACT temperature, a deviation of 50 to 60 miles of the storm track or just a couple degrees can make all the difference of rain/frozen/snow.

PS, I am not from a TV station, I am a grad student with a degree in meteorology.

SmooveB said...

Anonymous (5:16):

That's the problem. There are so many variables in play that predictions are just estimates. That's all they can ever be. And the longer the forecast horizon, the more variables there are to be considered.

With that in mind, it seems silly for the forecasters (everywhere, not just one station or another) to bother with seven- or ten-day forecasts. If I am trying to predict something seven days into the future, it would seem that any of these variables could change and require me to revise my prediction. So why bother with them if they will have to be tweaked anyway? Shouldn't forecasters just stick with predicting the weather a day or two in advance, when there are far fewer variables?

Anonymous said...

Hey. I have no issue with them not being able to forecast a snowstorm accurately. But if that's the case, they really shouldn't be trotting out their European weather model (whatever the hell that is) and their colorful snowfall maps (which, I admit, look awful pretty) and saying in such an authoritive and matter-of-fact tone that we will be getting 2 to 4 inches of snow

I'd be so much more impressed if they actually said, "You know. We're not quite sure. Its a snowstorm and they can be so wacky. Could be 2 inches of snow. Could be 12. But it looks like it'll be tough-going for driving. So don't be an idiot"

Anonymous said...

Hey Omaha...the sky is falling!!!

Signed,

Chicken Little

Anonymous said...

Cut the crap. We all know that the weathermen are all nothing more than showmen anyway. They could care less about their forecasts; they only care about how they look on television.

And if, by some miracle they do manage to hit the target correctly, in particular about a warm day, they spend all their time playing God taking credit for the beautiful day, as if they had anything to do with the weather. It's almost nauseating to hear an anchor thank them for the beautiful day or tell them they are upset with them because of inclement weather. I think that is what aggravates me the most. YOU are not responsible for the weather.

Anonymous said...

I think its just so funny to watch them get so overjoyed about the weather.

They get all kinds of excited when there is a big thunderstorm or blizzard. Like a kid in a candy store.

But what's even funnier is when they get so jazzed about getting the say the words "Top Ten Day". I swear one day the guy who does the weekend evening weather on KETV was going to pass out he was so excited.

Anonymous said...

3:57 PM:

I'm not talking about Nash Roberts, although, he would be another one I would put right up there with uncanny accuracy.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 6:49 am.

This is the met grad student again.
I have never seen an onair meteorologist seriously take credit for the day, whenever that discussion comes up of blaming or thanking the meteorologist, they have ways of making it perfectly clear they're joking, with their laughing or whatever. I have interned with 2 on air meteorologists in Omaha and they take their jobs very seriously. I get sick and tired of people complaining that we can't ever get it right when they have no clue whatsoever what goes into forecasting and how hard it can be, it is not straighforward at all. Most of the time, they are right, you only remember when the mess up on a storm. No one ever notices when something is accurately forecasted.

Anonymous said...

12:29 PM:

You apparently aren't watching the stations that you interned at then, because this happens all the time; with the exception of Tyson Pearsol and who knows about McPike, as no one ever watches them anyway. I've seen the two guys on 6 and 7 take credit for it time after time. And could the reason be that no one recalls when something is accurately forcasted is because it rarely is...Oh I'm sorry...57% of the time according to another poster. Quit being so sensitive or you are in the wrong line of business.

Dale Munson's Bud said...

I love it when the anchors pat the met. on the back: "Thanks for the great weather Joe!"

Just once, I'd like the met. to thank the anchors: "Good job Cindy and Matt. No shootings or bad accidents tonight!"

Anonymous said...

Ok, so we've now learned that it's an inexact science and should cut them some slack when they get it wrong. Alright, maybe on a 10 day forecast, but about 5-6 years ago, I heard Flowers give a live forecast on the radio on a Sat morning, maybe 10am. He said that by 6p that evening we would have 6" of snow on the ground from this HUGE STORM COMING OUR WAY!!! (my emphasis). Well, at 6pm that night we had exactly 0.00" of snow on the ground. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not a flake fell out of the sky. After that, I decided I was never going to listen to that boob give a forecast ever again...and I haven't.

Oh, and one more thing to consider. According to Mr Met grad student, with so many variables, we can't hold them to their forecasts for multiple days in the future. So with that being said, how are we to believe the "experts" who tell us that they know that there is "global warming" and what the Earth's weather is going to be in 10, 25, 50, or 100 years from now? Guess that means that they are full of crap then, huh?

Anonymous said...

OK, yes I will admit 57% is not good, but I would like to know what the criteria are for right/wrong. If there was a 40% chance of rain and it didn't rain, or if it did somewhere around the area but not at the airport, is that right or wrong? If the forecast is 57 and the actual high is 59 is that considered wrong?
I will take back my previous statement, come to think of it however, there is one particular "heartland's most experienced forcaster" who does not seem to know what he's talking about, but the others try.

Yukon Cornelius said...

This is so funny, listening to the kid who has no experience, but "he's a grad student". Then there's the idiot who has tracked every forecast by every forecaster over the past several years to come up with the original, "they're never right" comment.
Every time the winter rolls around the squirrels come out when they're supposed to be hibernating!

Anonymous said...

I know I don't have any experience, but I know how hard it is to forecast. As for Global Warming, you are completely right, Al Gore and the media hype it up way too much. Yes, it is happening, but we really don't know what what will happen with weather from that. There are theories from models, and that's what you hear people say will happen, but they are only theories.

Anonymous said...

Yukon:

I believe the poster that stated that "they are never right" was merely exagerrating. Oh, and the "idiot" that was tracking was obviously doing it for a university related class. As far as your squirrel comment...now THAT was amusing.

Anonymous said...

Way to go weathermen/meteorologists! Kudos to you all! Excellent job! Excellent precision! You generally only hear the negative comments on this site; for once, I wanted you to hear a positive. :)

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