All Weather News

What Models Say about Storm Possibilities around Thanksgiving

13 Nov 2012, 11:46 am

Thanksgiving week is traditionally one of the busiest travel times of the season.

Millions of folks hit the highways or hop on a plane to visit family and friends.  And we all cross our fingers that bad weather won’t delay our travels.

As we get within ten days of Thanksgiving 2012,  we’re looking at the possibility of some storms hampering holiday travel.

But who will see the impact of the storms? It depends on which model you follow.  There has been quite a huge difference between different computer models lately.

For next week, the ECMWF (Euro Model) has a fairly massive storm hitting the western Atlantic, near the Northeast on Tuesday.  It would provide large quantities of wind (again), and rain and snow (again) for some areas that really would rather avoid it.

The GFS  (American Model) has snow over the over the Midwest on Tuesday.  The GFS has also had a rather rough fall, so far, with many more misses than hits when it comes to storms.

Hmm… So what model should you believe?

If you go by what happened with Hurricane Sandy, the ECMWF called the destructive turn to the East Coast a week ahead of landfall while most other models had Sandy going out to sea. Then days later those other models came more in line with the ECMWF.

Here is a look at some of the forecast tracks a week prior to Sandy’s landfall.  Most models had Sandy headed out to sea.

Many meteorologists believe the ECMWF is the best model out there and Sandy helped solidify that confidence.

Back in 2007, big changes were made to the way the ECMWF model and physics work, especially the initialization point, using surface observations and satellite data.  And now other models are following the Europeans’ lead.  While the ECMWF is the European model, the GFS is the main, long-term, American version.  The WRF is a much more adaptable model that can be customized in many different ways – but is only a short-term model.

Speaking with WeatherNation meteorologists, everyone has a favorite model depending on the situation and time frame.  I prefer the ECMWF in long term forecasting but use the NAM-WRF and RPM High Resolution for short term forecasts.

Thanks for checking in.

Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer


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