Ask Ellen: Why is this Winter Storm so tricky?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you lived in the south, a forecast like this would have your running for the bread and milk.

But we live in the north, and we know all winter storms aren’t created equally. The one coming this Sunday is a tricky one. The biggest problem, is the forecast track has been really hard to nail down. 

If you can’t tell for certain where the storm is going to move, you can’t say for certain who is going to see the most snow. It’s a hard thing to communicate, but I think I’ve found a good comparison, and it has to do with tacos. 

This is a high impact, low certainty event. 

It’s like when Taco Bell promises free tacos if a base is stolen in the World Series. If it happens, there would be a big impact. Tons of people would get tacos! If it doesn’t, they will be no impact at all. 

With this incoming storm try to cling to the things we do know. 

  • The time frame the snow could happen is Sunday evening through Monday morning
  • Snow amounts will be different all across West Michigan
  • Some in Michigan could see 6″+
  • Many in Michigan will only see a couple inches
  • We will be getting much colder Sunday night, so watch for ice

As the storm comes together today, our forecast models should start agreeing more. You see, one of the things we look for to increase our certainty as forecasters, is if a bunch of different forecast models say the same thing. As of Saturday morning here’s how different the models were. The snow total numbers you see are plotted for Grand Rapids, since it is a nice central location and one of our most populated cities. 

I’m personally digging the ECMWF right now, but please, stay tuned! Stay safe, and maybe head home a little early this weekend from visiting family this Thanksgiving. 

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