Simulating the February 2014 North Carolina Snow Event
Each Global-WRF simulation is initialized at 00 UTC and 12 UTC each day from 4-10 February, with each simulation running until 14 February 2014 at 00 UTC. The spatial resolution of the coarse domain is 111 km by 111 km. Three nested domains are also configured to capture the mesoscale features of the event. The first nested domain is located over the continental United States with a spatial resolution of 33 km by 33 km. The second domain is nested over the Southeast US (VA/NC/SC/GA) with a spatial resolution of 12 km by 12 km. The third domain is nested over North Carolina with a spatial resolution of 4 km by 4 km.
Evaluation of the model's forecasting skill will primarily compare precipitation observations to simulations over the course of the Snow Event. Preliminary results show liquid precipitation values within 200% of the observed values (1.2 inches in the 11-Feb 00 UTC simulation, 2.9 inches observed), and a surface pressure field indicative of the event over 180 hours prior. The vertical temperature profiles also consistently indicate a cold air damming event within 48 hours of the actual occurrence. At this range of accuracy, the Global-WRF could become an effective forecast tool for similar complex winter events. Additional research will include testing WRF forecasting skill for the Snow Event against the choice of physics schemes, and evaluating the robustness of the forecast as a function of lead time.