This morning’s Seattle snow is a triumph of technology

snow

The scene in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood this morning.

If you’re just waking up in the Seattle region, there’s a surprise waiting outside: a nice coating of snow.

In fact, this would have surprised meteorologists in the past. But not this time, thanks to advances in the computer systems and scientific approaches used to predict weather. The new generation of WRF models were predicting this snow, whereas the older systems were saying there wouldn’t be any.

Pacific Northwest weather guru Cliff Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor, said yesterday that the presence or absence of snow today would be “a great test of weather prediction technology.”

“The high-resolution models, the leading edge of numerical weather prediction, are going for a few inches of snow over much of the western Washington interior,” he explained in a post on the Cliff Mass Weather Blog. “In contrast, the much older statistical guidance products (Model Output Statistics, MOS) that use past statistical relationships and coarser model output have no snow.  And the temperature are really not that cold over the region:  at or near freezing at the surface at most locations.  However, (with) all that said, I believe the high-resolution models are correct for a number of reasons. … Snow is coming.”

And here it is. Enjoy it. And good luck getting to work.

  • aaronbrethorst

    And, to be sure, government funding, too.

    According to their website, WRF was developed by: NCAR (funded by the NSF), NOAA (government agency), NCEP (part of NOAA), FSL (NOAA), AFWA (government), NRL (government), U of Oklahoma (state school), FAA (government).

    http://www.wrf-model.org/index.php

    Periodically, you’ll hear politicians (mostly in Congress) calling for cuts to NOAA because ‘private companies do it better’. This is boneheaded and crazy, given that these private companies primarily get their raw weather data from NOAA.

  • Waxil Davidson

    Now if only the crazy voters would vote to fund plows, and maybe the bridges too.

  • DawgDays

    not a surprise, been watching Cliff’s blog posts for a few days now.

  • 509

    There is nothing wrong with Government if it serves the people.

    However, these days it is the corporations and special interests being served!! Wall Street, Banks, Boeing all making money off the government and using the working people to pay for it.

    Here east of the Cascades we put in a fiber optic system when private industry refused to invest in our area. The DEMOCRATS worked really hard to stop the project and effectively killed municipal fiber in most of Washington state.

    We have the “best government money can buy”. That is the problem. And it both major parties are for sale.

    On April 5th, 2014 you can fix the problem by voting for ANY third party candidate.