Why flurries can cause "fury"

Why flurries can cause "fury"

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The mention of flurries, and especially "snow," brings different responses from different people.

For those who love snow, they get excited. For those who hate snow and cold weather in general, they hate hearing it in the forecast. And then there are some who just don't buy it. They even think whatever is forecast, the opposite will happen.

This is a hard one, even for the most veteran meteorologist to dodge. And while we may get it right on many occasions, the few that we miss are remembered and remembered well.

It's not always the snow itself that is the issue, it's what it does to the roads. And a little snow can cause a lot of problems. Forecasting road conditions is a little tougher and one of our weather vendors is working on new technology to help us better warn and predict when roads will become slick or dangerous.

That will be a big help but that's another topic for another day. 

Regarding the forecast, some people think it's all hype when we mention flurries or snow. I can understand that reaction or mindset. If you miss one or two big ones, it's hard to forget.

Meteorologist Andrew Kozak and I haven't been here long enough to miss a big one, but we likely will at some point. Every meteorologist misses the forecast on occasion. That's why we try to convey what we think as clearly as possible. And that includes telling viewers when we are less or more confident. 

Forecasting is predicting what will happen in the atmosphere in the future. None of us will ever be able to do a perfect forecast every time. But if we can be right 75 to 80 percent of the time, we are doing a solid job. And that's what we (Dave, Ron, Andrew, and myself) try to do. 

For example, we forecast flurries twice in January. And both of those forecasts came true. We did miss one in early winter that caused some major travel issues for a few hours during morning rush hour.  So we are two out of the three so far this winter. But we always strive for perfection and we always go over our forecast to see why we missed it. The more we learn, the better we will be in similar situations in the future.

Wednesday night, we are forecasting flurries (maybe brief, light snow) again and we are highly confident that's all it will be. And while Andrew and I (the new guys) may have just moved to Memphis, we are not new to forecasting. I have been forecasting everything from winter weather to severe storms across the South for more than a decade and Andrew has experience forecasting across the Midwest and Northeast. We are thrilled to work with Ron and Dave and utilize all the experience and knowledge they have as native Memphians. I love the challenge that forecasting in the South brings and I look forward to the challenge of showing people in the Mid-South my passion for providing vital weather information and getting it right.

As for Wednesday night, here is one of the high resolution models we look at to help with the forecast. It hardly shows anything. Others show a dusting at most. While Wednesday night's flurries won't be a "big deal," we will certainly let you know when it will be in the future. If you have questions or suggestions on how we can improve the way we communicate the forecast, feel free to share.  I always like to hear feedback, as long as it's constructive and not nasty, of course. =)

Spencer Denton
Noon and 4 PM Meteorologist
Twitter: @sdentonwx
WMC Action News 5 Storm Tracking Team

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