WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

All Hail the Euro's historic November snowstorm

By Jesse Ferrell
1/24/2019, 3:33:44 PM

Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 3:42 PM

All hail the European Model. The ECMWF predicted more than a foot of snow from the mountains of Maryland into New York state, when no other model suggested widespread snow measuring out of the single digits. This is what the Euro forecast looked like more than two days in advance.

European Model Snow Forecast For 11/15 Storm

Naysayers (like me) had a list of reasons it would be wrong:

  • It was predicting more snow that had fallen in the entire month of November since 1995 here in State College, PA.
  • New York City hadn't had a storm before Thanksgiving with 6 inches of snow since 1938.
  • Sometimes models' snow algorithms can overestimate amounts due to sleet or freezing rain.
  • The 10:1 snow ratio isn't the best way to predict snow, as ratios can vary greatly.

Here's the map of what actually fell as of this morning:

Actual Snowfall 11/15/18

Because it was the first winter storm for many areas, there was no treatment on the roads ahead of time, creating chaos. Some leaves were still on the trees, due to late fall color, which caused downed trees and power lines. In the Midwest, which got the ice from the storm, almost 500,000 customers were without power Thursday afternoon; as the storm spread a mix of wintry precip up into New England, another 200,000 customers were in the dark. Traffic accidents were widespread, in fact the roads in the southern half of Pennsylvania were as bad as they get in the winter, and in eastern Pennsylvania and New York City, people were trapped in their cars (the heaviest snow also hit at rush hour).

New York Daily News Front Page 11/16

The ECMWF model's forecast was not perfect; much less snow fell in the northern Virginia mountains, northwestern Pennsylvania and around Lancaster County, Pennslyvania, but it was right about widespread amounts over a foot in Pennsylvania and New York, and it nailed New York City's 6 inches.

Here's a list of the highest snowfall amounts by state from this storm:

Wallace & Warsaw, NY: 15.5"
Hawley, PA: 14.0"
East Enosburg, VT: 14.0"
New Fairfield, CT: 12.1"
Frostburg, MD: 10.5"
Randolph Twp, NJ: 10.5”
Keyser & New Creek, WV: 10.1"
Kokadjo, ME: 10.0"
Wright City, MO: 9.8"
Westborough, MA: 9.4"
Burrillville, RI: 9.0"
Derry, NH: 8.2"
Loudoun, VA: 7.0"
Arenzville, IL: 7.0"
Newark, DE: 4.5”
Augusta, AR: 3.0”
Jackson, TN: 2.5”
Redland, KY: 2.3”
Washington, DC: 2.0"

Here are just a couple of examples of how the storm was historic:

New York City Historic November Snow Storm

State College Max Daily November Snowfall 1900-2018

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)