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Do not put too much stock in long range storm forecasts

Contemporary science cannot predict how bad a winter storm will be until about two or three days before it hits.

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Weather models often give us a vague idea of a chance of a winter storm in our region as much as a week or more in advance. The storm is barely a wave in the air over the Pacific Ocean at this point, but today's sophisticated computers and weather software are able to at least give us a "heads up" that can be useful. These same models produce detailed snow, wind and temperature forecasts out to more than two weeks away, but these are not reliable at all.

Contemporary science cannot predict how bad a winter storm will be until about two or three days before it hits. And the all-important details of how much snow and wind and any sort of transitional change of rain to snow cannot really be accurately forecast much before about 24-30 hours in advance. In the end, winter weather systems always yield a surprise or two even during the storm. This is just how it is.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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