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Evaluation of Probabilistic Snow Forecasts For Winter Weather Operations at Intermountain West Airports


This work set out to assess the performance of four forecast systems (the Short-Range Ensemble Forecast (SREF), High-Resolution Rapid Refresh Ensemble (HRRRE), the National Blend of Models (NBM), and the Probabilistic Snow Accumulation product (PSA) from the National Weather Service (NWS) Boulder, CO Weather Forecast Office) when predicting snowfall events around the Intermountain West to advise winter weather decision-making processes at Denver International Airport. The goal was to provide airport personnel and the Boulder NWS Forecast Office with operationally-relevant verification results on the timing and severity of these events so they are able to make better-informed decisions to minimize negative impacts of storms. Forecasts of snow events using various probability thresholds and a climatological snow-to-liquid ratio of 15:1 were evaluated against Meteorological Aerodrome Reports (METARs) for 24-hour periods following four decision-making times spaced equally throughout the day. For the ensembles, a frequentist approach was used: the forecast probability equaled the percentage of ensemble members that predicted a snow event. The results show that the NBM had the best timing of snow events out of the products while all the products tended to over-forecast snow amount. Additionally, NBM had fewer snow events and rarely had high probabilities of snow, unlike the other forecast products.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Early Online Release
May 22, 2023
Fiscal Year
Peer Reviewed
Publication Name
AMS Journals Weather and Forecasting
Publisher Name
Submitted On
October 03, 2022


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.