Throughout this entire winter season, none of the predicted snowfalls have matched the hype of the media or the forecast of the Weather Service. All last week, local chatter and wire service whooped and hollered about what a severe storm was going to hit northeast Kansas. The day of the storm, the indication was for a storm total of eleven-to-fifteen inches. We ended up with barely over four inches. That’s how it has been for the last several months; precipitation usually hitting below half of the prediction. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, we doubled up. Instead of one-to-three, we ended up with nearly six inches of snow. What happened was this: instead of passing on through, the front stalled out over us and began to spin in place. I don’t think that’s how the NWS states it but for our purposes here, that’s what happened. So we got more of it than expected. Another bonus, of sorts, it was a “wet” snow, so we’ll be getting a bit more moisture out of it. Probably the equivalent of a half-inch of rain.
I do not at all believe that the Weather Service’s sub-par performance thus far this season is due to incompetence, laziness or indifference. My suspicion is that the weather patterns of the past few decades on which prediction models are largely based have changed. Nearly every storm that has come our way has shifted east south of Kansas City, leaving us outside the core of precipitation.
Patterns change, seasons shift, forces are altered. And, too, we should keep in mind that meteorologists make predictions, not prophecies. I suspect that many of today’s self-appointed prophets are more like Al Roker than Elijah.