Wednesday’s shaping up to be quite frosty (mid 20s)… but at least the sun will be shining. We’ll follow it up with a cold night, as temps try to fall near 0°. If you’re looking for the forecast details… we’ve got everything between now and Sunday lined up, on the HVW 5 Day Forecast.
But this post is going to take a close look at the Blizzard of 2015… or in the case of the Hudson Valley, the Fizz’ard of 2015. We’re going to take a look at snow totals, as well as what went wrong for the HV. Alex already shared some of his thoughts with you on Tuesday, and I’ll be adding my personal thoughts as well, at the end of this post. So let’s take a look.
Well… the Hudson Valley barely got in on the act at all. With the majority of the Hudson Valley forecasted to see 10″ to 20″…. much of the Hudson Valley didn’t even hit the 4″ mark, indicated by the dark blue color. Here are the snow totals from the National Weather Service:
What Went Wrong?
From the moment we began discussing this nor’easter, we emphasized the potential for a bust. That said… even as late as Monday afternoon, we fully expected the storm to drop well over 1 foot of snow. The forecast was bad, plain and simple.
But why?? … We had spent hours sorting through conflicting data, and yet… here we sit, with less than 3″. So let’s take a look at a few pieces of data. First… here is the NAM model’s forecast, generated on Monday Afternoon… looking at Tuesday morning at 7am, only 18hours into the future. We’re choosing this image, because it is incredibly close to the European model, on which the forecast was based.
The storm was forecast to be almost due east of Atlantic City… and due south of Rhode Island, as a very powerful 974mb storm. Notice a couple things:
- The exact position of the storm center
- The incredible amounts of moisture in the Hudson Valley (blue color = 4″ to 8″ of snow in 3 hours)
So now, lets look at what actually happened at this moment in time (7am Tuesday)
This map isn’t the easiest on the eyes, but there are 2 things we need you to notice.
- First, the Red X represents the forecasted position at this moment in time (7am), and had a 974mb storm
- The Circle about 100 miles to the east represents the ACTUAL location of the weaker 982mb storm
You’ve got a weaker storm than forecasted… and that storm is located 100 miles or so east of where we’re expecting it to be. When you move the center of low pressure… generally… you move the precipitation the same distance. Check this out…
- The Hudson Valley was forecasted to get a widespread 10″ to 20″… with locally 24″+
- The storm was 100 miles further east than expected
- The distance from Poughkeepsie to Hartford is 99.6 miles.
- Hartford saw roughly 15 inches of snow (10″ to 20″ in the area)
So there you have it. If the storm takes the track that we were expecting in the NAM model image shown at the top of the page, we’d very likely have reached our forecasted snowfall amounts. But sometimes reality doesn’t play itself out like a computer model thinks it will. The storm was slightly faster than anticipated, and more importantly… weaker. A weaker storm will be faster, and stay further east than a more stronger storm. So hopefully that helps understand how the forecast went so haywire.
I’m a bit exhausted after putting together the recap and explaining how it all went wrong. But I want to say a few words before I call it a storm, and call it a night.
Your understanding and support has meant a lot over the last 24 hours. When you blow a forecast by roughly 20 inches… not everyone understands or cares to hear the explanation, or search for the reasons behind the busted forecast. Forecasting is an imperfect science for sure, but HVW takes your trust very serious. The fact that the storm did not behave as we had expected and forecasted… left Alex and I feeling like someone had just snuck up on us… and punched us in the gut.
After countless hours of forecasting over the past few days… for whatever the reason, the forecast was garbage. Our information did not help you plan for your day. It’s not much consolation that “everyone else” also got it wrong… we don’t think that way. We will definitely be looking even deeper into what happened in the coming weeks. Hopefully getting some answers will make sure that something like Tuesday doesn’t happen again…
Thanks for all the support… it really has kept us going the past day or two. Speaking of keeping us going… I need some sleep badly. There have been plenty of angry people… with plenty of ‘not so nice’ things to say. Wonderfully kind comments, and pep talks have made the day mush easier… because after reading some of the negative…. being able to read your positive comments…. definitely helps us stay grounded and even.
Have a great Wednesday Hudson Valley!