News Columns & Blogs

Why has this snow storm been so difficult to forecast?

If you’re feeling a bit baffled by the wide-ranging forecasts for the winter storm bearing down on the Great Plains, you’re not alone.

It’s confounding meteorologists as well.

Wichita was supposed to get several inches of snow…..then no snow at all….and now snow has returned to the forecast. A blizzard warning was issued, canceled, then issued again.

Forecasters have been telling me for days that the computer simulations are in vast disagreement about the track and intensity of the storm. Check the two simulations below, about 6 hours apart.

One says almost no snow for the Wichita area. The other about 18 inches just east of the city, and perhaps a foot of snow in west Wichita.

“I’ve never seen the models this inconsistent before,” said Mike Smith, chief executive officer of WeatherData, Inc., a subsidiary of AccuWeather.

For more on this contrast, see Mike’s blog.

One thing they agree on: strong winds that will blow around any snow that falls, making driving hazardous at best.