The recent light snow event of February 6-7 was not particularly well forecasted by our office. The National Weather Service office in Grand Forks missed it, too. "Flurries" was the forecast, later changed to "very light snow." We ended up getting about two and a half inches of dry, fluffy, airy snow. As snow events go, this one was a weenie one. But it was clearly more than flurries.
We missed it.
The fact is, we weather forecasters almost never get the forecast exactly right and, on occasion, we miss badly. This is nothing new. However, the reason for the errors is not that we are an incompetent lot. Weather forecasting is hard. It’s about about predicting the future of a highly-dynamic, non-linear system using limited observations of initial conditions including a lot of remote sensing techniques. The goal of a weather forecaster has never been to be exactly right. The goal is to be close enough to be useful to the public.
And I think we are, most of the time.