WeatherWeather Science


Biggest storm of the year for Southern Colorado! Find out how First Alert 5 did?

Forecast verification
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 22:25:22-05

With the biggest storm of the year winding down tonight, I wanted to take our viewers on a journey to see how the forecast changed over time.

Let's start out by taking you back to last Friday (2/10/23) as this information that I'm going to start with came from a story that you may have seen here on News 5.

Meteorologist Alex O'Brien shared her own in depth analysis of the approaching storm, which at that time, was more than 3,000 miles away.

The model data that Alex showed late last week placed the low pressure system very close to Southern Colorado by midday Wednesday (today), even hinting at a possible Albuquerque low.

Friday's model comparison
Last Friday's model comparison of today's storm

Then through the weekend, the European model began to nudge that low closer to the Four Corners Region.

Fast forward to data from Tuesday morning, and you can see that the European model has remained consistent with a Four Corners Region low.

Tuesday's model comparison
Tuesday's model comparison of today's storm

Now let's take a look at how the snow forecast changed over time...

Last Saturday (2/11/23), I tweeted out this image (see below) of what the National Blend of Models (NBM) was showing for the storm.

In comparing that NBM forecast to our very own from Tuesday afternoon, we can see how the forecast evolved.

Overall, it's a nice surprise to see the consistency between that NBM model from last Saturday and our forecast from right before the storm hit.

Consistency with any type of forecast is key, and this is what allows for more confidence in what we show our viewers. This includes such things as more specific snow forecast totals, timing, and storm impacts.

Snow model comparison
A comparison of the NBM from last Saturday to our own First Alert Forecast from Tuesday

The final piece to this puzzle is to compare our forecast to the actual verified reports.

We don't always have time to do this, so it's been fun to compare the two.

Let's start with Colorado Springs...where yesterday we forecasted snow totals in the 4-7" range.

With storm reports between 4-8", I'll call it a win.

In Pueblo, we forecasted 4-6" totals, and came in on the high side of that with reports of 6-7".

In Palmer Lake, we also hit our target, with 8" of snow reported.

Lastly Beulah...the 14.5" of snow that we saw here fell within our forecast range of 8-12".

Forecast verification
Comparison of yesterday's snow forecast prediction versus today's storm reports

You might call this storm an *overperformer*, but by looking back at the forecast over time and comparing it to what actually happened, I'd say overall that things went pretty smoothly from a forecast perspective.