Thursday, October 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Snow on Super Sunday?

Perhaps just a flurry, says AccuWeather in its first ever "46 day" forecast -- no kidding.

Snow on Super Sunday?

Loyal readers are aware of our skepticism regarding long-range outlooks, and the atmosphere keeps  validating that skepticism.

Recall the forecasts of an active hurricane season; what followed was one that set new standards for gentility in the United States.

As we’ve written, the consensus call among meteorologists was for a mostly uneventful winter, with temperatures a tad above normal and snowfall, below.

AccuWeather, itself, is on record as saying winter would get off to a mild start in December.

John Bolaris on our own Philly.com zigged from the pack by predicting a wild winter back in November, but even he noted, “not so much through the remainder of 2013.”

So what’s happened so far? Already, this month has become the ninth-snowiest December in 130 years of recordkeeping, and evidently wintry chill will pour back into the region after a spring flirtation at the solstice.

The AccuWeather folks, however, are ready to get back on the bicycle. They created a stir in the meteorological community in August when they started issuing day-by-day forecasts 45 days out, something we commented on back in September in this post.

For this special occasion, AccuWeather today posted a onetime 46-day forecast; we suspect it won’t hurt web traffic.

But the evidence suggests that this long-range business is a perilous one. Let’s look at how the forecasts fared at much shorter ranges before the winter siege began on Dec. 8.

On both Dec. 4 and 5, AccuWeather was calling for 0.2 inches of snow in Philadelphia on the 8th. Neither the Detroit Lions nor Philadelphia Eagles would dispute the official total of 8.3 inches.

We will add that National Weather Service’s and the Weather Channel’s forecasts for that Sunday three and four days proved to be similarly out of touch with reality.

For the record, AccuWeather is calling for clouds and a high of 36 after a low of 18 at MetLife Stadium  on Feb.  2, 2014. Appropriately, yes, that would be Groundhog Day.

We will predict that the MetLife Stadium forecast will undergo a blizzard of changes until the big day, and here’s the site if you care to keep score.

We won’t rule out that AccuWeather already has nailed it, but guessing who gets to play the game, the final score, and how many commercials make it on the air might be easier that forecasting the weather.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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