Jim Krumel: The perils of forecasting a winter storm

By Jim Krumel - jkrumel@limanews.com

Jim Krumel

Jim Krumel

Everywhere you went last week, people were talking about the Big One — the brutal snowstorm that was going to unleash its fury starting early Saturday and lasting until Sunday morning.

“There’s going to be 6 to 10 inches of snow,” folks started warning each other last Monday.

As the week played out, the forecasts seemed to change by the minute, depending on which weather service you were paying attention to, what time you checked it, and what day it was. There was talk of as much as 8 to 14 inches of snow and as little as 3 to 5 inches, as well as everything in between.

“Trying to predict the exact amount of snow a region will receive five to seven days in advance is a losing battle,” Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, admitted. He pointed out that meteorologists started following this storm pattern while it was developing over the Pacific Ocean.

“We had a good idea some type of major storm would hit the Ohio Valley later in the week, but too many factors can change the track of a storm, including temperature and the amount of moisture in the air. Then there are wind gusts and wind speed also playing a big role in steering a storm,” Kines said. He pointed out if the wind picks up speed, it will blow a storm through an area faster, resulting in less snow. Likewise, the lack of wind can cause a storm to hover and drop more snow.

Most folks in the Lima region were taking precautions Friday that Winter Storm Harper would be a nasty fellow. Snow shovels, gloves and de-icing salt were becoming harder to find. Some Saturday sporting events were already being canceled and people who didn’t typically buy milk or bread were at the store hoarding milk and bread, as well as beer, cigarettes and pop tarts.

One day before the storm was to knock on our door, AccuWeather predicted 6 to 10 inches of snow would blanket the region on Saturday. The Weather Channel said 4 to 8 inches and the National Weather Service called for 3 to 5 inches. All three noted there would be bitter cold on Sunday and Monday with a warm-up on Tuesday. Terms like blizzard, flash freezing and ponding were being thrown around.

“All of us pretty much have the same data for our forecasts, it’s just a matter of how we interpret it … kind of like you and your neighbor trying to predict a Super Bowl winner,” Kines said.

For the record, our measurement shows Lima receiving 6½ inches of snow from Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday.

That would leave The Weather Channel and AccuWeather each claiming Super Bowl titles.

ROSES AND THORNS: There’s always room for a role model in the rose garden.

Rose: To William White, the former Lima Senior, Ohio State and National Football League standout who also earned a degree in chemical engineering. Speaking at the Character Champions for Life event, White told the young adults and youth in the crowd, “Don’t let your environment or situations around you affect who you are. Be your own person.”

Rose: To Zavier Simpson, the point guard of the Michigan basketball team and a Lima native. After Michigan defeated Illinois, 79-69, earlier this month, Illinois Coach Brad Underwood said, “Zavier Simpson, in my opinion, is the MVP of the league to this point. You take him away from that team and they’re not No. 2 in the country.”

Rose: To Mike Schoenhofer, 67, who is retiring as executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board for Allen, Auglaize and Hardin counties. Those who worked with him called him “a man of action.” He co-founded the Family and Children First Council and helped organize the region’s response to the opioid crisis.

Thorn: Were those mashed potatoes or smashed potatoes? It took nearly three hours to clean up potatoes that were spilled on Interstate 75 after two trucks collided just north of Wapakoneta over the noon hour Tuesday.

Thorn: To Judd Spencer, address unknown, mayor in name only of Cloverdale. He hasn’t attended a council meeting in seven months.

PARTING SHOT: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jim Krumel
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/01/web1_Jim-Krumel-2.jpgJim Krumel

By Jim Krumel


Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.

Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.

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