In the wake of the repeated snow storms across the northeast the question came up the other day about forecasting snow totals. One camp suggested a range. Another suggested that snow total forecasts too far out are a problem.

How do we answer the users who say, “Just…..tell… what it is going to do, give me a number!” But, we’re also being increasingly told that users understand and accept an explanation of the uncertainty in a forecast.

It reminds me of a day years ago when Mom and Dad were visiting. Dad was having a terrible allergy attack and Mom became obsessed with knowing what was in the air. Wouldn’t rest until she knew. Eventually she found out…but nothing changed. Still watery eyes, still a sinus headache. But, she had an answer and that made her feel better.

So, how much snow? Maybe in the moment you are in the answer is, “Right here, right now, four inches right there. Maybe a bit more or a bit less. We’ll keep an eye out for changes and let you know.”

About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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