A Case Study of the 6-7 February 2020 Northeast Winter Storm: A Forecasting Perspective

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A Case Study of the 6-7 February 2020 Northeast Winter Storm: A Forecasting Perspective
Kaitlyn E. Lardeo
Bruno S. Rojas
Nicholas F. Rodick
Scott M. Steiger
Paige E. Jansen
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Weather forecasting
Unknown ( sobekcm )


The Lake-Effect Storm Prediction and Research Center (LESPaRC) is an operational forecasting office stationed at the State University of New York at Oswego. LESPaRC performs weather forecasts for various clients, such as the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT), Oswego City School District (OCSD), and Jefferson Community College (JCC). Our team includes one supervisor, two student directors, one long-range forecaster and seventeen short-range forecasters, where all directors and forecasters are current students at SUNY Oswego, and the supervisor is a professor in the Atmospheric & Geological Sciences Department. Responsibilities of LESPaRC short-range forecasters include forecasting various aspects of the weather for different areas across NYS, including weather conditions, temperature, wind direction and speed, wind chill, and visibility, while the long-range forecaster writes weekly forecast discussions for the NYS DOT, OCSD, and JCC. On Friday, 7 February 2020 at 1200 UTC, a low-pressure system was situated over southern Pennsylvania and Maryland. LESPaRC had the task of forecasting this winter storm and communicating the associated risks to our clients. For this event, surface and boundary layer temperatures in New York State and neighboring states were the most concerning aspect when forecasting precipitation type. There are two main aspects of this storm that will be the focus of this presentation; the accuracy of LESPaRC’s forecasts and how clients perceived them, and the decisions of SUNY Oswego’s school officials regarding the cancellation of classes and school activities with the weather information received from unknown weather consultants. SUNY Oswego school officials decided to announce cancellation 45 minutes after morning classes started. Many professors were already on campus, and there are both students and professors alike that commute to campus daily from distances greater than 30 miles. The presentation includes an interview with SUNY Oswego’s Vice President of Administration and Finance regarding the university’s decisions for this storm.
Collected for SUNY Oswego Institutional Repository by the online self-submittal tool. Submitted by Kaitlyn Lardeo.

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SUNY Oswego Institutional Repository
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SUNY Oswego Institution
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