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Forecasters miss the mark on weekend winter storm

Forecasters miss the mark on weekend winter storm
Posted March 3rd, 2014 @ 4:21pm by WTVN Newsroom

WILMINGTON, Ohio (WTVN) -- We were supposed to see a foot of snow, but only picked up a couple of inches. There aren't many people complaining, but a few asking why the forecast was so far off.

"Sometimes we have to eat the humble pie and just say that hopefully this doesn't happen too often," said Myron Padgett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

This past weekend's storm was unusual in that it came from the Pacific coast as opposed to the Gulf of Mexico. That made forecasting what it would do a bit more challenging. Padgett says the storm ended up diving further south than originally anticipated meaning the bulk of the snow fell in extreme southern Ohio and Kentucky as opposed to central Ohio.

Padgett says they look at several computer models to come up with a forecast. It's never fool-proof, but rarely as off as it was this weekend.

"It usually works out pretty well, but it's not always going to do that and this is one time where it certainly didn't," he said.

The key is to learn from what happened and use that knowledge to help better understand how winter storms work. The challenge with trying to forecast snow is the timing of when the precipitation will fall as either rain, freezing rain, sleet, or snow.

"When you start mixing in all the other ingredients and the temperature it can be difficult and only a few miles can make a big difference," said Padgett.

Winter isn't done yet. Padgett says it's not out of the question to see another major snowstorm before the end of March.

"We'll just have to wait and see how things play out here," he said.

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