12 important things to know about forecasting snow in NJ
Another Jersey winter has arrived.
Here in the Northeast United States, winter storms can create significant headaches for the millions of people who commute to work/school each day. That's on top of the potential for power outages, property damage, personal injury, and epic snowball fights.
For meteorologists, winter is our "playoffs" season. All eyes and ears are on us when a storm approaches. All outdoor and traveling plans depend on our forecasts and expert opinions. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously. And I work very hard to earn your trust by producing the most honest, accurate, and timely forecasts I can.
Having said that, I make no attempt to hide the fact that I HATE SNOW. My loathing for winter weather is not just borne from the hassle involved to drive in it, shovel it, etc. It's rooted in the fact that New Jerseyans in particular go absolutely nuts when snow, sleet, and/or ice is even mentioned. The demand for a pinpoint accumulation map and a second-by-second storm timeline crescendos to ridiculous levels.
Overall, we do a pretty good job predicting the future. But there are definitive limits to meteorology — it is (unfortunately) an inexact science. I have found that transparency and honesty works best. Along with the mindset that every storm presents a potential learning experience.
Before things get too crazy here in the weather center this season, I want to give you a peek behind the curtain. I want to discuss some of the biggest challenges I face in both making and communicating a snow forecast. I want to share my routine and timeline when a winter storm looms on the horizon. And I want to give some advice on how best to stay informed, prepared, and safe this winter season.