Why even mention the possibility of snow 6 days out?
Someone out there in cyberspace is going to bring it up. Light a match, start a rumor, throw up a piece of weather data. The public wants to know.
When we see signals suggesting a high-impact snow (or any type of high-impact weather for that matter) is developing, we believe it is appropriate to pass it along.
You’re just hyping the storm. What if it doesn’t come?
In our judgement, there is enough of a risk to raise awareness. Believe me, if I wanted to hype a storm, I would be working in the:
SUPER DUPER HYPER-MEGA-GIGA EXTREEEEEEME WEATHER CENTER 13,000!!! (whoooossshhhh!)
I would argue against that characterization. Consider:
Suppose you are standing in the middle of a two-lane road, at night, with a blindfold strapped over your eyes and earplugs in your ears. And I’m there next to you, but I have a pair of binoculars and an amplifier.
After several minutes, I see a distant light and hear a distant sound. You cannot sense either one of them.
I’m not sure what it is, but I know that it might be a threat. I’ve been on this stretch of road dozens of times before, and while I know that tractor-trailers don’t come through here often, I’ve seen it happen.
On the other hand, I know there is at least one place between us and the mystery light where a vehicle can turn off the road and harmlessly disappear.
So, do you want me to tell you what I can see and hear? Or do you want me to wait until it gets closer? Because right now, it’s too far away for me to tell if it is a Mack Truck or a Toyota Prius.
Everyone answers that question differently.
Of course, as it gets closer, it will be easier to figure out what may, or may not, be barreling at us. Unfortunately, sometimes the vehicle has its lights off, in which case, we can’t even see how big it is until it’s too late. But at least we can hear it coming.
Every meteorologist uses his/her tool set differently and has his/her own road to monitor. Some weather hobbyists have learned to use the tools better than others. This is one reason that weather information from different outlets is wildly inconsistent several days before a storm is expected to impact.
On rare occasions, the signals are so obvious, most meteorologists agree that what’s coming is a moped, motorcycle, minivan, SUV, or Greyhound bus. So if you read many different opinions about a storm several days away, that means the signals aren’t obvious.
File the information away, follow the forecasts, and watch for trends.