top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

Emotions run high during editorial response

Jason Samenow @ 12:04 AM

Today's Forecast
Welcome to March. Expect variably cloudy skies and blustery conditions. A snow shower or flurry cannot be ruled out. High temperatures should be in the mid to upper 30s. Be careful on side streets early in the morning and watch for icy spots. For school closing information, click here. Storm recap from Washington Post: Fickle Storm Defies Forecasts

Washington, DC can be a very frustrating town for snow lovers. Nothing is more disappointing or even angering than a forecast for heavy snow that never materializes and fizzles the day of the storm. Snow lovers have a long memory and remember these occasions, and when things weren't looking good for them yesterday, it was like deja vu all over again.

For some of our visitors, the initial reaction in the morning, was pessimism:

Chris commented:
If we see anything over 2" out of this I will be surprised.
Greg wrote:
This storm sucks! I am very discouraged and have lost all faith in the WEATHER GODS... Could it be that this could be the biggest bust of them all???
By mid afternoon, some posters began attacking the competence of forecasters. RJ wrote:
I'd say our local mets get snow forecast 50% wrong 7 out of 10 times. That's just unexceptable. It's really disgraceful, sorry but I'm not going to shut up about this one.[My comment: That's a big exaggeration.]
It was not until late afternoon that the flames really started to fly. A poster by the name of Rocker, let us have it:
As of 7:45 a.m. today you were predicting 4-8 inches in DC!!! As of 9 a.m. you were promising it's coming ... Truly, sadly, pathetic and a waste of time. Less power to you. [My comment: Let the record show it snowed 4-6". The snow came.]

It's true that the pros were wrong -- but what I read here was the most alarmist/wishful-thinking b.s. anywhere. It's the repeated exhortations of "It's coming!! It's coming!!!" that are the problem. [My comment: Let me address a misconception I've seen perpetuated in the comments. There is this notion that we are 'amateurs' and not pros at CapitalWeather. As a matter of fact, three of's forecasters, including myself, have advanced degrees in meteorology.]

This site has no accountability and the purported forecasters feel they have the right do the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater."[My comment: we do post mortem forecast evaluations after every storm and most certainly point out our own mistakes. Furthermore, we are accountable in that every single forecast we do is archived and available for folks to review -- there's no hiding from our mistakes]
Rocker also made the bizarre accusation that we were purposefully overhyping the storm to influence decision makers to shutdown schools and offices. If only we had that influence :)

What is the point of this post? Partly to entertain -- but also to make a point...

As a snow lover I understand the bitter disappointment of a snow 'bust'. However, I also ask that you have patience during a snow event and trust the team. We will not intentionally overhype a storm and we will update our forecast when necessary. If our forecast has not been updated, it's because it hasn't changed. While most folks were calling off the storm early in the afternoon, we were confident accumulating snow would still fall (and it did, within our updated forecasted range).

Most importantly, we will be accountable. But we will always wait to evaluate our forecast until after the storm has ended because that's the only objective way to do it. In that spirit, the official post mortem assessment of this storm will have to wait -- as it's still snowing outside... Look for it within 48 hours.

Pictured: Snow accumulates on a tree in Rockville, Md where 5" fell. Photo by Peter "Havoc" Sperduto

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post