Thursday, April 16, 2009

April Storm Leaving Large Footprint

Well here in Denver we are all anxiously watching the forecast and scaning the local television stations to see who will do the best job of predicting the approaching storm.

As usual, our local NBC station is scared to make a call either way. It makes me so mad.

I think it is good for the television meteorologist to explain the possible scenarios, and give you the range of what may happen -- but I also like them to then say so with that, here is what I think.

The boys on Fox and Channel 2 are doing just that -- they are saying it is a tough call, if the snow level changes are little as 500-700 feet, it changes the outcome. BUT we're going with 10-20 inches of snow.

The team of NBC are all over their map. Their graphcs show winter storm watch with up to a foot plus of snow possible, but if you listen to the message being delivered, they are going for more rain than snow. However, they won't right out say it because they always want to be right, so they deliver a vague message that technically will verify no matter what type of weather we see.

I haven't seen the ABC or CBS station yet, and I may not get a chance this morning before work, but I do find it very interesting to watch the different styles and confidence levels of the local forecasters.

I worked in the media here in Denver for a few years, and this is by far one of the hardest places to forecast for -- but I think the general public is expecting a blown forecast in Denver, and they also deep down understand the complexities of forecasting along the Front Range and are forgiving of the blown forecast -- so to the television meteorologists out there -- pick a scenario and go with it! Don't ride the fence.

Take a risk and if you are wrong, try again next time.

Ok I am off my soapbox.

Snowstorms in Colorado are not rare in April. I think I have seen at least one good snow each April since I moved here in 2000.

We typically even get one final hoo-rah snow in May it seems. One year we had 4 inches on May 21 or 22 -- I can't recall which date.

Now a storm of this intensity -- if Denver gets up to 20 inches and the foothills up to 36 inches -- that is somewhat rare for this late in April.

It takes a really strong and organized storm to get that much cold air support to produce that much snow over the lower elevations.

This approaching storm has already left it's mark in the history books.

The storm has spread snow from Spokane, Washington to the central Rockies. Click here for more about the eastern Washington snowfall earlier this week. It's been one heck of a snow season for the city of Spokane, with new records set and many new memories made for local residents.

Severe thunderstorms will spawn from eastern Colorado to the southern plains as the storm moves eastward this weekend. And heavy rain is anticipated from Texas to locations as far north as Nebraska.

This is GREAT news for Texas -- they need a good, widespread rain -- and some locations may see up to 4 inches of rain over the next 2-3 days.

This April storm is also a great storm for Colorado. We are way below normal on precipitation and have been for quite some time.

The latest poll has closed with 82 votes.

I am happy to report that of those who participated, no one has had their home destroyed by Mother Nature.

However, over half have had either slight or moderate damage.

35% have been fortunate to have never experienced damage to their home from the weather.

Here are the official results...

Has weather ever damaged your home?

  • Yes, destroyed -- 0%
  • Yes, moderate damage -- 17%
  • Yes, slight damage -- 47%
  • No, I have been fortunate -- 35%

    A new poll will be posted today.

    1. I can identify with your comment about safe weather forecasts. Here in Southeast Alaska it's been a long time since the weather service has given us a long range forecast. They have been telling us for a couple years that our weather will have equal chance of being lower, higher or normal temperatures and precip. Now what kind of a forecast is that? Doesn't take a college education for sure!

    2. I didn't get into this poll in time; large hail has damaged my roof to the point of needing the shingles replaced twice in the past decade. (You couldn't tell there was hail by looking at my 1986 Suburban!) We also learned a valuable lesson: go with the roofers in town and not the outfit an hour's drive away (in Garden City Kansas).