CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - So imagine for a moment on a pretty Sunday in June I tell you about a storm system over the Pacific ocean and forecast it to bring drenching rains to our area the following Sunday, seven days into the future.
Now imagine you had a big outdoor party planned that following Sunday. So you check back on Tuesday, then again Thursday and finally on Saturday at which point you see the forecast never changed.
So you canceled the whole thing and saved $500 dollars on the party tent and catering because, sure enough, Sunday arrived and the rain came.
With any luck, you’re telling your friends, boy that Eric Thomas, he nailed the forecast; he was alerting us to this storm for over a week!
But while that forecast looked perfect, truth is, it wasn’t.
There were indeed small errors, there always are, you just didn’t notice.
In my mind, I might have been thinking we would get about an inch of rain. Turned out we wound up with just a little bit more than that, about an inch and a third (hold your fingers 1/3rd of an inch apart).
Of course that error really made no difference, the roads were still wet, parties still rained out, and the thirsty lawn still got a drink.
What a GREAT forecast!
Now it’s winter. Same exact storm, same exact forecast, same exact errors, very small.
But when it comes to snowfall where one inch of rain can produce 15” of snow, that little 1/3” error I had suddenly means I missed the snow forecast by five inches!!
So what will people say if I forecast an inch of snow and we get six inches? What will people say if I forecast six inches of snow and we get one inch? Oh you know what they’ll say:
That was a TERRIBLE forecast!
Stay safe this weekend!
Meteorologist Eric Thomas