Monday, February 20, 2012

Report Card, Part II

Boy, am I glad that my job isn't dependent upon accuracy. Yes, I have a unique job where I can be wrong one day and still have a job the next. By no means does that translate into intentional sloppy forecasting though. I don't use the "stereotype" as an excuse. I want to be right! Who doesn't? Last month I recorded my temperature and condition accuracy for just Portland. A recap for the month of January, a near-perfect conditions report was marred by a couple bad days that dropped my temperature accuracy to near-fail percentages. Well, I am bound to make it up in order to gain your trust in me as a forecaster.

Last week, I tracked my temperature accuracy for the entire state of Oregon (plus a few Washington cities too). In the weather center here at Fox 12, we forecast for 35 cities in our "viewing area" each day. That includes cities as far North as Kelso/Longview, Washington, as far East as Baker City and as far South as Albany. Most of the North and Central Oregon Coast are also accounted for. Here are the results keeping the same temperature criteria as my monthly reports (+/- 3 degrees for accurate temperature):

Monday, February 13: 24/35= 68%
Tuesday, 14: 30/35= 85%
Wednesday, 15: 25/35= 71%
Thursday, 16: 33/35= 94%
Friday, 17: 28/35= 80%

The final average comes out to 79% for the week. Looking back at reports, my two worst days (Mon, Wed) both had LIGHT wind forecasts. Clearly I have an issue with forecasting temperatures when winds don't become a factor. I would have figured it to be the other way around. My best day was Thursday, when I missed just two locations (Baker City was off by 7 degrees, and Mt. Hood Meadows was off by 5).

Which cities was I most accurate? Both Astoria and Newport had spot on accurate temperatures two out of the five days. I also hit the high temperature for a handful of other cities throughout the week. The most inaccurate forecasts have a common theme. Sandy, Welches, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge each had three missed temperatures. Clearly I have an issue forecasting the Cascade range. That is evident in the breakdown of accuracy by region:

Oregon Coast- 95% accuracy
Willamette Valley- 84%
Portland Metro- 85%
Mt. Hood area- 50% 
East of Cascades- 80%

Tough going in the Cascades. Temperatures vary greatly in a short area in the mountains which can make it difficult to accurately forecast temperatures. So I have an area I need to work on! But if you'd like a beach forecast, come talk to me!

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