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Weather Service To Focus On Improving Forecast Model

by Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:48 AM


If my memory is correct, a recent Midwest snowstorm made headlines in New York City when the Big Apple stayed above freezing and received mostly rain instead of an eight-inch snowstorm promised by many. 

The missed forecast was such a big deal that NBC Nightly News featured the incorrect forecast in a nightly broadcast.  Since that storm, much as been made of the European Forecast Model being more accurate than the Global Forecast Model developed by our National Weather Service, (NWS). 

I feel compelled to tell you this is not new news.  Many veteran forecasters including yours truly have heavily relied on the Euro model during the winter months for years.  It is true, that the Euro model often predicts the correct scenario several days earlier than our domestic model.  The problem for forecasters such as myself, is that the Euro forecast model does not provide as many layers of data in high resolution as the NWS Global Forecast System, (GFS). 

Local forecasters have the benefit of the Euro model but more data from the not-as-good GFS.  Let's hope the NWS makes good on it's commitment to improve it's GFS forecast model. 

A more accurate computer model with layers of high resolution data would be greatly beneficial.  But, keep in mind, many universities such as the University of Washington also develop and make public, local forecast models.  One single forecast model will likely never be correct all the time.  Forecasters will continue looking at several different scenarios each day and making an educated conclusion called a forecast.

Here is the link to the story I read before writing this article:

KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill