First Alert Weather In-Depth: Timing the storm and the forecast process

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When you look back through weather history of Rochester, much of it is going to point back to the month of March. Do you remember some of the highlights (or lowlights) for the upcoming month? Let me refresh your memory. There was 2012 when we had a record high temperature of 80 degrees. Then we had 2017 when there was a wind gust of 81 miles per hour at the Rochester Airport. How about the blizzard of 1999 when we measured 40 inches of snow in just three days.  And of course many of us remember the great ice storm of 1991 which completely destroyed the electrical system.

We have been analyzing the data from our very latest storm during the last few days and it is now just starting to come into view. Right now it is located off the coast of the state of Washington. It is still more than 2600 miles away from Rochester and it is still days away before it arrives in Western New York. However, this is where things start to get pretty interesting!

Many folks wonder about our forecasting process and specifically how we make our predictions. The day by day timeline is a significant part of this process. Keep in mind that News 10NBC First Alert weather is the only station in town with a 10 day forecast. So, at the seven to 10 day time frame, we are already looking at the pattern recognition.  In other words, will this pattern support this particular storm? Then five to 7 days out, we are looking at the trends. Does this storm look to be coming closer to Rochester or does it appear to be moving away? Right now, we are at the three to five day time period and specifically examining the timing and the type of precipitation. The last portion of this forecasting process is one to three days out. Then we really get into the minute details of the storm and create the hour by hour forecast.

The entire forecast process is a challenge, but if done correctly, the future is bright for the meteorologist.