After any weather event, I always like to take the time to go back and analyze what went wrong and what went right. Forecasting snow is far more difficult to forecasting rain or severe weather. A snow forecast is equal to determining where a tenth of an inch of rain will fall. I've always said snow forecasts are always WRONG. Our goal at best is trying to limit just how wrong we are.
The good news with this snow event. It wasn't one of those where we forecast 2" and 10" falls. That's really really bad and can happen. But, we did get more snow in a few spots than I expected. This was primarily due to the convective snowbands that developed in Tuscaloosa, Culman, and Jefferson Counties. You may have heard this convective bands - they produced thundersnow. The problem with thundersnow is you get a burst of snow so intense it overwhelms the above freezing ground temps and you get build-up on roadways and travel problems result. Needless to say, I wasn't really banking on thundersnow.
This is the reality of yesterday's snowfall from the National Weather Service. Note: I did receive a few isolated reports in Cullman County of 4+".
In retrospect, I should have increased the snowfall totals another 1" across the area and taken them down a notch in East Alabama. Dr. Tim Coleman and I had a conversation the night before discussing the possibility that more of the snow could fall West of I-65 and less toward the Anniston area. That forecast didn't make it on television because at the time we were still thinking the higher elevations with colder temperatures would win out. At appears the thundersnow took a bit of the energy out of the system and it quickly accelerated out of the state by 5pm heading into Georgia.
Snow forecasting! It's one of the hardest thing any meteorologist will do in the Deep South. In the North where snow is much more common being off by an 1-2" is no big deal, but here it makes a difference because it's something we're not used to living with during the Winter.
Fox 6 Chief Meteorologist