Tags: America's Forum | Joe Bastardi | weather forecasting | computer models | snow | cold

Joe Bastardi: Computer Weather Models Are Tools, Not Answers

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 12:11 PM

While many weather forecasters predicted record-setting snowstorms would bury the Northeast on Tuesday, the snowfall failed to live up to the hype in places like New York City, which didn't see nearly the amount of snow anticipated.
 
People put way too much stock in computer models, which are just part of the equation, WeatherBELL Analytics forecaster Joe Bastardi said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's  "America's Forum."

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"What happened with this storm is that you have imprecise size computer models and as much as human beings try to think that the computer is the answer, it's a tool to get the answer," he said.

"So what happens is you have a storm coming through the Ohio Valley that is going to redevelop along the Virginia coast. Where it redevelops, how fast it redevelops, the angle that it redevelops at, in other words, is it tilted northeast or tilted due north?

"All these things come into play and when you're talking globally over an area of 50 miles, that's very, very difficult to do sometimes. It was a tough storm for New York.

"We've been stressing at WeatherBELL though, since the middle of January, that the period of January 26 through February 10 was going to get progressively colder across the country and stormy, and I believe this is just the beginning of a series of storms. Certainly not all with the potential of a blizzard of 2015, but certainly things that can really raise a ruckus."

Forecasters rely on two weather models, a U.S. model and a European one, according to Bastardi. The U.S. model was more accurate in predicting snowfalls in New York in Tuesday's storm, but from the Big Apple heading northeast, the European model was correct.

"That's very interesting because in watching the models and the models are tools, they're not answers, you have to look at the overall pattern to figure out which model was going to be right. And what did the U.S. model did do is it predicted the redevelopment in the correct spot which shifted the heavy snow further east," he said.

"The problem it had was it was still forecast in 6-10 inches out on Long Island and it was way underdone in New England, overall, from six hours away. Amazingly enough though, it's seeing what the Europeans seeing in this period coming up that we've had outlined for a while."

The winter is just beginning, Bastardi said, cautioning that colder air will return to the center of the country.

"You're going to see a parade of storms that could cause wailing and gnashing of teeth to meteorologists coming along here," he predicted.

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While many weather forecasters predicted record-setting snowstorms would bury the northeast Tuesday, the snowfall failed to live up to the hype in places like New York City, that didn’t see nearly the amount of snow anticipated.
Joe Bastardi, weather forecasting, computer models, snow, cold
469
2015-11-27
Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 12:11 PM
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