Sunday, February 17, 2013

WxChallenge update & wintry mix coming

So I guess I was a little vague earlier this week when I was talking about the WxChallenge... I figured I would explain it a little more.  When I went to Ohio State the meteorology students joined the national competition.  It is for college students studying meteorology and professors.  They now opened it up for alumni so I was added for the spring this year.

The location changes every two weeks so you have to be able to adapt to the changing climate which is actually harder than it sounds because if you are forecasting for a location like Cleveland or other cities along the water it will change things up greatly compared to Oklahoma City with no water mass affecting temperatures and winds.  Anyway the location changes every two week and you enter four forecasts a week.  We still have one week left of forecasts for Burbank, CA.  You enter a forecast by 7PM every Monday-Thursday for the next day... so for the Tuesday-Friday for that week.  (What is nice is being able to submit your forecast for the entire week (4 days) so if you forget to submit each day you can at least have a safe-guard against a missed forecast... which did happen to me once this year)  Each day's forecast has max temp, min temp, max sustained wind (in knots), and daily precip.

Here's the cities for Spring 2013
City Identifier Dates
Austin, TX KAUS January 28 - February 7
Burbank, CA KBUR February 11 - February 21
Newark, NJ KEWR February 25 - March 7
Duluth, MN KDLH March 11 - March 21
To Be Determined* KTBD March 25 - April 4
Wichita, KS ** KICT April 8 - May 4

As I mentioned the forecasting for the cities is VERY intense.  They rank everyone based on accuracy of the forecasts and the ranking updates every hour as the new surface conditions arrive.  To give you an idea of how tough the competition is... on Friday I nailed the max wind, nailed the precip, but only missed the high and low by 2 degrees.  Despite nearly getting the forecast accurate, I only moved up about 100 forecasters in the ranking.  It is fun and challenging, but there has to be a little luck and artwork involved.  It is fun to take a few minutes out of my day to challenge myself by forecasting for a location around the country.  Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you since I got a few questions about the WxChallenge.

Bringing things back locally.  Looking at the latest models I think freezing rain and sleet are looking less likely Monday night into Tuesday morning, BUT we will still have a wintry mix.  Today we are staying in the mid 20's and a little sun trying to peak out.  Monday we will see increasing clouds and warm conditions in the mid 40's for highs.  Rain will begin rolling into Ohio in the early evening.  We will transition to a wintry mix, mainly rain to snow by daybreak with our temps falling back into the mid 30's.  Most of the rain will fall between 10PM and 5AM.  The rain and warm temperatures Monday will keep the snow from really sticking on Tuesday.  Not really expecting a lot of snow because dry air will work in, but with falling temperatures the pavement will ice up later Tuesday.

We stay dry and cold for Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday we warm up a little, but another wintry mix is possible in the morning.  Will keep an eye on that, but I best be getting ready for work.  Have a good one!

Andrew Buck Michael

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