In more recent years, the once in a lifetime October 2011 snowstorm produced more snow in one storm than in a 100 or more of previous Octobers! Then, Superstorm Sandy in late October 2012 also produced its share of snowfall especially in West Virginia. The back to back winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15 were significantly colder and snowy than seasonal averages, including the incredible onslaught of major snowstorms in January and February 2015 that crippled eastern New England with four storms yielding greater than 16 inches in Boston that resulted in the snowiest period in history. Finally, during the relatively lackluster winter of 2015-2016, one of the most significant and well forecast snowstorms on record produced record snow on January 22 and 23, leaving the newest heaviest snowfall record in New York City and shutting down an area that is home to many tens of millions of people.
All of these periods and more are covered in depth in the updated monograph, with an emphasis on an updated climatology that includes this significant period, as well as detailed meteorological descriptions of these and other storms. This talk will focus on the recent advances in analyzing and predicting such storms as part of the National Weather Service, and within NCEP’s Weather Prediction Center. These issues include the expanding role of probabilistic ensemble forecasting, the introduction of new datasets such as dual pol radar and high resolution forecast models, as well as enhanced collaboration between National and NWS forecasters and their roles in providing consistent information to decision makers that include Emergency managers, the media and the public. The talk will also focus on the professional and personal journeys of the two authors as exemplified by the January 22 Blizzard of 2016, which was consistently forecast up to 8 to 10 days in advance, noting the slow but steady progress (as well as missteps) in the ability to predict these important phenomena.