Verifying the forecast: Heavy Rain Wednesday

Estimated total rainfall between 6am Wednesday 10/15 and 6am Thursday 10/16. Click image to enlarge.
Estimated total rainfall between 6am Wednesday 10/15 and 6am Thursday 10/16. Click image to enlarge.

Heavy rain came to parts of the region yesterday as low pressure interacted with an unseasonable moisture rich air mass.

In my forecast yesterday, I expressed some uncertainty in where the heaviest rain may fall, so I figured it was a good case to go back and look at once it was over.

Here is part of what I said in yesterday’s post:

“There was quite a bit of disagreement in the forecast models on where the heaviest rain would fall, but a swath of 1-2″ with locally more just to the east of the storm track makes the most sense. That places most of the region within the zone for heavy rain today, though the heaviest could end up along the eastern part of the green shaded area.”

The green shaded area refers to the map I published in yesterday’s post, which can be seen here. While it is more inexact to do a verification on a local scale when my forecast map was on a more regional scale, there are a few observations that stick out.

First, the heaviest rain did end up on the eastern side, and maybe even a bit further east, than the green zone I had drawn on the map. I should have highlighted that possibility better, but if you read the blog post, you knew that scenario was possible.

Second, the rainfall amounts were pretty good. Most areas in the the Finger Lakes ended up with under an inch of rain, but the green zone at a whole typically, to use the word on the map, saw 1-2″ with a pocket of even high amounts as much as 3″.

All in all, I would say the forecast was decent, but it would have been even better had I expressed the alternate scenario of the heavy rain staying east better. Expressing uncertainty in a forecast and presenting alternative scenarios of what may happen is a vital part of the forecast that is lacking in many sources. There is always room to improve, but this is just one reason why Finger Lakes Weather is not just another weather website!


Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). Drew and his wife have four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.