Feb 23, 2012

Oshkosh Winter Prediction - Cycle 2 Performance Review

Back in late November when I pulled the first cycle data together to produce the Oshkosh Winter Forecast I banked on the cycle averaging 48 days per cycle. As we LRC followers know the cycle breathes and is never a static length. To this day the cycle in 2011-12 is averaging 46 ish days. This obviously means the dates and times of month I chose to pin point events is skewed slightly. With that said, the original forecast is still comprehendible with minimal self interpolation.

The original forecast called for the cycle 2 forecast period to fall between Jan-3 through Feb-19. In actuality it is Jan-2 through Feb-17. The OSNW3 LRC Calendar can shed more light on the cycle duration. Below I compare the OSNW3 surface observations between Jan-2 through Feb-17 against the LRC based forecast conditions for Jan-3 through Feb-19 made in late Nov and analyze how they have performed in forecast cycle 2.

Days with Measurable Snow (0.1" or greater)
Forecast Cycle 2 = 12 days (Jan-3 thru Feb-19)
- Actual
Actual Cycle 2 (Jan-2 thru Feb-17)
- 13 days with 0.1" or greater snowfall.
- 92% accuracy

Total Snow Accumulation
Forecast Cycle 2 = 17 inches of snow (Jan-3 thru Feb-19)
- Actual
Actual Cycle 2 (Jan-2 thru Feb-17)
- 11.7 inches of snow
- 1.41 inches of precipitation. A 10:1 snow to water ratio would have equaled 14.1 inches of snow had it all been snow.
- 68% accuracy

The data trend leads me to believe that there will be enough warm spells to compensate for the majority of cold air events within each cycle leading to Above Average temperatures for the winter. The numbers tell me 1 to 3 degrees above average each cycle. Don't get me wrong, there will be some cold stretches this winter, there is no doubt about it, but with warm-ups scattered about may make the overall winter not seem so harsh temperature wise.
- Actual
- Daily Maximum temperatures were an astonishing 7 degrees above the (81-10) 30 year average for the actual cycle 2 period.

Note on temperatures... using the LRC I was convinced temps would be above average while others were calling for a cold winter. The calculated average temp from cycle 1 was 3+ degrees above average. I biased the prediction on the low side because the pros were calling for colder than average. I may have learned a lesson. The LRC data doesn't lie and it is a very powerful forecasting tool.


What should we expect in Cycle 3?
Sticking with the original forecast numbers made back in November for cycle 3, we should expect about 4 days with measurable snowfall accumulating around 9 inches. Temperatures should stay above average for the cycle once again. Spring should arrive mid March and rarely regress to a winter feel like most early spring events do. When using the LRC forecast trend below remember to give or take a day, or two!

(Temperature & Precipitation Chances Forecast Trend For Oshkosh)

If there are any questions or thoughts on my research and analysis of the LRC or how I presented the material just let me know in the comments section of the blog. Thanks for reading!