My Thoughts on the Blizzard of 2018

Forecast totals map. Courtesy: NWS Eastern Region Twitter.

Forecast totals map. Courtesy: NWS Eastern Region Twitter.

What a storm we had here on Delmarva. A lot of places saw between 5-15 inches of snow, granted it was very difficult to actually measure the snow with the 18-48 inch snow drifts that appeared by mid-day across Delmarva. This forecast was not cut and dry by any means, but we did have some big time failures with regards to some of the biggest points of this storm…including the final totals and the forecast that we went to bed with on Wednesday night as the storm was finally starting. Here are some thoughts…good and bad on Delmarva.

The good:


– The timeline that I was showing on television for the start of the snow was right on the money. I had started to mention that this storm was going to start between 9pm and midnight….for most of us, the snow had started falling right around the 9pm hour.


We probably could have given a better heads up on the impact of the wind ahead of time, but our forecasts of 50-60 mph wind gusts verified as the storm started to impact the region by early on Thursday.

– I believe our response to folks questions ahead of the storm was timely. I try to be very responsive on social media when people ask important questions about the storm as we were making our way throughout the storm and even with the Facebook lives that we have stared to do the last couple of days….this will become a vital tool as we move forward to help get the word out faster about impacts coming your way. Granted the negativity (which is warranted) is a little hard to handle at times, it is something that comes with the territory.

The bad:

First Forecast  Tuesday Night Forecast MapLast Map Forecast on Facebook

-The snowfall amounts ahead of the storm. We did the dance with the numbers and for this storm. We were on the very low high end of our values when this was done, but the problem is that these numbers should have been higher given what we were seeing with some of the modeling. Those models that we believe as reliable let us down on this storm ( even the Euro model fails sometimes ). In the end, I feel like the message of the intensity of this storm is missed with the back and forth we did with number and ultimately, under forecasting the amounts.

– The communication of this storm.


I remember when I made the post from December 28th, saying we were watching for some issues with a possible coastal storm and that it could make an impact. It was on our 7 day….for the most part, at least on my end…throughout the time….but, I never really discussed it. With the bitter cold across Delmarva, it was not put on the back burner in the weather office, but to the view….as I look back at social media posts….could have been brought to the forefront a little more often….just to say, hey….it’s still here on the models…it is something to watch. I think with regards to that, it will get a little easier now that we have the ability to be Facebook live wherever we want to be and will allow for better communication of things down the road…..especially since on TV, you only get 3 minutes to do weather…where on Facebook, you could have a nice robust 20 minute conversation about the forecast…where you are answering questions along the way.

Overall Grade of Forecast: D+

I said this would be an honest assessment of the forecast.


Forecast totals map. Courtesy: NWS Eastern Region Twitter.

Forecast totals map. Courtesy: NWS Eastern Region Twitter.

Given the miss with storm totals and the communication of this storm really being muttled at times, this was a miss for us. I believe the timing of the storm going about as planned and at least having it on our 7 day along with the heads up a week ago….I couldn’t give myself a failing grade. It was a poor forecast with the snow totals. All meteorologists look at the same information so the interpretation of the information and the number of times you change information are judged just as harshly in some viewers eyes with a fine tooth comb.

-Meteorologist Mike Lichniak.