Disappointing News From the Weather Service

Unfortunately, the climate record for metro Hartford will be tainted again by bad data. This is nothing new. Meteorologists in Connecticut have complained to the Weather Service for years about bad, suspect, or missing snowfall data at Bradley Airport.

As most of us noticed there was an error in how the observers were measuring the snow at the Airport. According to the Weather Service the “snow board” was being placed improperly resulting in incorrect snowfall measurements. Instead of actually using surrounding sites to come up with an accurate estimate of what fell, the National Weather Service appears to have taken the easy way out and just thrown out the bad data as opposed to trying to replace it with something that makes sense.

The original snowfall total was 12.3″ on Saturday 10/29 and 8″ on Sunday 10/30. There was no question that the 8″ total was way too high for Sunday. I also have suspicions that the 12.3″ on Saturday may have been too low. Even though it was still snowing and accumulating (probably another 1.5″ or 2″) on 10/30 the NWS has just ditched the 8″ measurement and replaced it with a Trace.

A meteorologist at the NWS in Taunton emailed local TV meteorologists to say:
I should politely caution everyone that this was a one-time problem that has been corrected, but we must keep in mind that the people doing this had a lot of other issues going on at the time and they are doing the NWS a favor by continuing measurements for us at BDL.

Considering there is a “one-time problem” seemingly every year maybe there is a training issue, a communication issue, or some other type of issue between the NWS and the observers at Bradley. The folks at Bradley aren’t meteorologists so I assume that puts the responsibility to train the observers on the NWS. Maybe some of the blame should lie with them?

Unfortunately our climate record is becoming more and more compromised as the NWS moves away from human observation and toward automation. I treasure the climate record that we do have and believe it is very important. I hate to see it systematically dismantled by moving toward automation.

Several TV and radio meteorologists in the state brought the original bad measurement to the attention of the NWS. When I tried to follow up about why the snowfall that accumulated on 10/30 was just thrown out and replaced with a trace I received no answer. Frustrating.