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The PIT

Last Nights ? Yesterdays Forecasting Failure

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The forecasts during yesterday and into the evening were almost as bad as the storm that never was.

Most on here knew it was an extremely marginal event from the off. However when it was clear that the Snow would be freezing rain forecasts and flash warnings were still being issued for Snow.

Was the snow over played for fear of being caught out by heavy snow turning up rather than rain.

Has the Met Office got a lack of official observers who could have informed the met office over the progress of the front and the weather type. I simply followed the reports of member's on here and knew by nine that the snow forecast was dead in the water despite local conditions indicating otherwise. Net-weather extra radar also helped although I don't trust it 100%.

The data fed to net-weather radar I presume is available to the Met so shouldn't alarm bells have started ringing somewhere.

It seems that the Met office despite most people being on the internet aren't trying to harness the information that could help update their forecasts more rapidly. I mean you still have to write out the rainfall figures and post them in. How backwards. Since I do that for them why can't I email the present conditions in??? In Dec 81 they actually rang us to check the weather so why have they gone backwards in the modern day?

And going back to the storm that never was I emailed the met office as to why the warnings weren't taken down when everything indicated (Even there own fax charts)the forecast was bust. The reply I got was the webmaster had gone home for the night I kid you not.

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The forecasts during yesterday and into the evening were almost as bad as the storm that never was.

Most on here knew it was an extremely marginal event from the off. However when it was clear that the Snow would be freezing rain forecasts and flash warnings were still being issued for Snow.

Was the snow over played for fear of being caught out by heavy snow turning up rather than rain.

Has the Met Office got a lack of official observers who could have informed the met office over the progress of the front and the weather type. I simply followed the reports of member's on here and knew by nine that the snow forecast was dead in the water despite local conditions indicating otherwise. Net-weather extra radar also helped although I don't trust it 100%.

The data fed to net-weather radar I presume is available to the Met so shouldn't alarm bells have started ringing somewhere.

It seems that the Met office despite most people being on the internet aren't trying to harness the information that could help update their forecasts more rapidly. I mean you still have to write out the rainfall figures and post them in. How backwards. Since I do that for them why can't I email the present conditions in??? In Dec 81 they actually rang us to check the weather so why have they gone backwards in the modern day?

And going back to the storm that never was I emailed the met office as to why the warnings weren't taken down when everything indicated (Even there own fax charts)the forecast was bust. The reply I got was the webmaster had gone home for the night I kid you not.

Agree - the BBC/Meto had it nailed on although it was plain to see how mild the SW flow was - I drove up to Keswick yesterday following snowploughs over Shap summit at 1053ft ASL (light snow M6 clear - a credit to the Highways) I expected to be driving back home (South) into a real pasting - a total monumental Meto cock-up.....

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It's similar to the Feb 2nd 2009 event that quite clearly was going to bring rain, yet the Met Office kept harping on about snow.

The problem is they seem to use raw data from the NAE, which as a forecaster you can't base all forecasts solely on one model.

And going back to the storm that never was I emailed the met office as to why the warnings weren't taken down when everything indicated (Even there own fax charts)the forecast was bust. The reply I got was the webmaster had gone home for the night I kid you not.

Even if that was the case it doesn't explain why the Beeb were still harping on about snow even when the front had passed most of the country.

To add insult to injury they are still forecasting snow for the North York Moors

Any early snow over the North Yorkshire Moors will move away quickly

It's irrelevant when the forecast was issued, if there are errors they would have changed it by now.

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When Cornwall was recording 6'c overnight temps in CLEAR skies, any fool can tell you the front wouldn't be having undercutting Cold air bringing Snow on its leading edge. Even when it was raining yesterday afternoon before the front even got here, I knew the forecast was completely blown out the water. And I'm up in the Pennines where this "heavy snow" was more than likely to have come off.

If it was a window of opportunity then I can offer them some respite and say it was just a Meteorological fluke that the model didn't come to fruition, but they were still forecasting the Snow even into the evening forecast. All they needed to do was poke their head out the window and see for themselves what it was doing. Its not like the Pennines are a thousand miles away from Manchester, a simple hour-round trip in a car would have even done it.

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The upper air soundings as far back as midday on the 26th hinted that widespread heavy snow probably unlikely and I posted as much in the northwest regional thread. Other mesoscale models such as WRF NMM showed snow to high ground only.

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The data fed to net-weather radar I presume is available to the Met so shouldn't alarm bells have started ringing somewhere.

No, the weather type portion of the radar is created in house here at Netweather so the Met-Office don't have access to it.

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No, the weather type portion of the radar is created in house here at Netweather so the Met-Office don't have access to it.

Perhaps they should subscribe to NW? I think they need it.

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When Cornwall was recording 6'c overnight temps in CLEAR skies, any fool can tell you the front wouldn't be having undercutting Cold air bringing Snow on its leading edge. Even when it was raining yesterday afternoon before the front even got here, I knew the forecast was completely blown out the water. And I'm up in the Pennines where this "heavy snow" was more than likely to have come off.

If it was a window of opportunity then I can offer them some respite and say it was just a Meteorological fluke that the model didn't come to fruition, but they were still forecasting the Snow even into the evening forecast. All they needed to do was poke their head out the window and see for themselves what it was doing. Its not like the Pennines are a thousand miles away from Manchester, a simple hour-round trip in a car would have even done it.

It seems the forecast for snow in error was contagious going by the TAF for Leeds and Bradford airport. It appears that the first time all day that they predicted heavy snow was when it was already after midnight, don't know if this was in panic at the radar echoes!

TAF AMD EGNM 280023Z 2800/2824 14008KT 6000 -RADZ BKN030

BECMG 2800/2802 1200 SN OVC002

TEMPO 2801/2804 0600 +SN VV///

BECMG 2804/2807 0500 -DZ FG OVC000

PROB30 2810/2818 1500 BR OVC002=

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Most on here knew it was an extremely marginal event from the off. However when it was clear that the Snow would be freezing rain forecasts and flash warnings were still being issued for Snow.

Not aware of any freezing rain reports. Was an all rain event as far as I knew.

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We had rain here as far as I can tell, although temperatures were 1.4c at midnight when it was quite heavy. It could easily have been a degree colder and have fallen as very heavy wet snow. I think the Met Office did a decent job given the cicumstances.

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Yeah bit of a mess up this time though they did backtrack their forecasts as the day went on. It does appear the nae had the upper air temperatures wrong and therefore predicted a lot more snow than ever was likely. They do seem very reliant on the output from this model, when issuing warnings for snow etc and I guess it is not infallible. However, although this episode was a big miss they have not done too badly overall during this extended cold spell.

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We had rain here as far as I can tell, although temperatures were 1.4c at midnight when it was quite heavy. It could easily have been a degree colder and have fallen as very heavy wet snow. I think the Met Office did a decent job given the cicumstances.

We had torrential rain at -0.4c, if it was going to snow anywhere it would have here. But it didn't.

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Not aware of any freezing rain reports. Was an all rain event as far as I knew.

Perhaps you should have walked round the block it was still icy this morning places here.

Netweather radar showed freezing weather as well.

However when things start going tits up there's enough information out there which they can use to correct there forecasts so why don't they use the available resources???

No, the weather type portion of the radar is created in house here at Netweather so the Met-Office don't have access to it.

So met office cant do what netweather can. Has net weather got more resources ????

Amazing really.

Even worse no mention of getting the forecast wrong this morning it's like the mistake never happened.

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Post event - even the forecast temps were underplayed... A forecast max of 2'c turned out to be 4.2'c. Was a rain event all the way from early monday,it was showing 2.4'c at 8-35pm last night. Plenty of winter too come looking at the charts.

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Perhaps you should have walked round the block it was still icy this morning places here.

Netweather radar showed freezing weather as well.

i was driving over the chilterns when the front passed - there was just rain and lots of snow melt. Freezing rain in the true sense of the word would have been almost impossible yesterday as temps were quite a bit above freezing everywhere before the front arrived. They dropped a bit in the heaviest part of the PPN (from 4c to 2c in my location) and i am sure that a few surfaces might have had some ice after the front passed, but that does not equal freezing rain, which is a dangerous, rare and quite noteworthy event in its own right

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We had rain here as far as I can tell, although temperatures were 1.4c at midnight when it was quite heavy. It could easily have been a degree colder and have fallen as very heavy wet snow. I think the Met Office did a decent job given the cicumstances.

a decent job. ARE YOU JOKING. plans were changed yesterday. it was very unproffessional i'm afriad. we were forecast heavy snow here from updated weather warnings at 8.30 and had torrential rain most of night. a disgrace

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I have mentioned this a couple of times recently but how many notable severe wintry spells have ended with a snowy breakdown?

Not that many, the best known is 1947 but 1963 didn't, January 1982 didn't, Feb 86 didn't, Jan 87 didn't, December 1995 didn't.

I don't think December 1981 ended with a particularly snowy breakdown.

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a decent job. ARE YOU JOKING. plans were changed yesterday. it was very unproffessional i'm afriad. we were forecast heavy snow here from updated weather warnings at 8.30 and had torrential rain most of night. a disgrace

Given the circumstances. It was hardly a catastrophic error was it. Imagine the fuss some people would have made if it had been snow when rain was forecast.

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i was driving over the chilterns when the front passed - there was just rain and lots of snow melt. Freezing rain in the true sense of the word would have been almost impossible yesterday as temps were quite a bit above freezing everywhere before the front arrived. They dropped a bit in the heaviest part of the PPN (from 4c to 2c in my location) and i am sure that a few surfaces might have had some ice after the front passed, but that does not equal freezing rain, which is a dangerous, rare and quite noteworthy event in its own right

I expect the clue as two why you didn't have a problem is within your own post 2c to 4c temps. Other places were lower and freezing rain is simply rain that falls onto a surface and freezes on contact.

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LOL cant believe all the fuss. This is one of the joys of having a basic understanding of models. I didnt expect snow off the first band of rain but knew very well that even my altitude wasnt going to save me from the second. Infact as soon as the incoming SWerly was nailed i had a grasp on what to expect.

I'm more shocked that even some of the avid model watchers here expected a dumping of snow, and as for the mild blip being over hyped, to the contrary it was under-hyped, undercooked and underestimated by many and has turned out to be quite the blowtorch with temps here on the penines already slightly above averyage today at 6.5c and still no lower than 6c now..............mind you the models were progging 2-3 which was obviously going to be way off the mark.

As for the meto .. they just covered their backs incase the unexpected did happen :)

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I'm more shocked that even some of the avid model watchers here expected a dumping of snow, and as for the mild blip being over hyped, to the contrary it was under-hyped, undercooked and underestimated by many and has turned out to be quite the blowtorch with temps here on the penines already slightly above averyage today at 6.5c and still no lower than 6c now..............mind you the models were progging 2-3 which was obviously going to be way off the mark.

Perhaps the cold pool hasn't lingered for as long as originally progged, but it still has in places.

Here for example, the max temperature was 0.9c, currently 0.6c and dropping.

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The lack of on-the-ground reports is woeful, though. On Xmas day Dan C was still blithering on about "temperatures struggling to reach freezing" across northern England, when it was a good 2 or 3 degrees above in NE England and beyond, despite the "0" on his weather map for Newcastle. In fact, here they have consistently over-egged the cold in this spell, frequently forecasting 2 or 3°C lower than was actually reached (day and night). I do wonder sometimes whether they might not learn the lesson and actually look at CURRENT OBSERVATIONS in the run-up to their forecasts. Last night was a case in point. They were forecasting heavy snow and -1°C here, even when the temperature was at 1°C and rising, and clearly not going to plummet. Sorry, but it was a very poor show, and mainly because they seem to have forgotten how to look out of the window, so to speak.

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Worth bearing in mind that freezing rain is dependent more on surface temperature than it is air temperature and most weather stations don't report this.

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And if the Met Office forecast said rain and it turned out to be snow, they would have been dragged across the coals.

Forecasting marginal snow is a nightmare in this country.

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And if the Met Office forecast said rain and it turned out to be snow, they would have been dragged across the coals.

Forecasting marginal snow is a nightmare in this country.

One of the points of the discussion is why they couldn't update the forecast when it was clearly going tits up. They seem very slow too react. Plenty of observers out there. They don't pay us for collecting data and I bet most of us who send in data would happily email in observations of the weather at a given time.

You also repeating one of the sentences I posted originally. I post it again here. Was the snow over played for fear of being caught out by heavy snow turning up rather than rain.

NickR has also mentioned something I've noticed over the last few weeks. Temperatures being far too low on the forecast.

Perhaps the cold pool hasn't lingered for as long as originally progged, but it still has in places.

Here for example, the max temperature was 0.9c, currently 0.6c and dropping.

Unless you're in a valley I find those figures unlikely. Quick check around the country suggest a possible error in your observation.

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