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NWS responds to Cuomo criticism, defends forecasts

Posted at 3:08 PM, Nov 24, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-19 15:08:52-05

The National Weather Service is responding to criticism from New York’s governor.

Late Saturday, Andrew Cuomo said the NWS didn't indicate that the heavy snow bands would remain stationary and blast South Buffalo and the Southtowns with unprecedented snowfall.

Cuomo indicated that's a big reason why the state is building its own weather forecasting system, which he says will be superior to any other state system in the country.

"No one had an idea that it was gonna be that much snow that fast. Snow coming down at the rate of about five inches an hour, Cuomo said.

The NWS says its office issued timely and accurate forecasts for both heavy lake effect snowstorms, as well as the rain and potential flooding to follow.

The state had been planning to build a weather forecasting system since at least last year, but officials at the NWS says it is more of a monitoring system than a long range projection system, meaning the proposed system would not have helped much with last week’s storms.

The NWS provided the following forecast timeline to support their assertion that their forecasts were timely and accurate:

Lake Effect Snow Watch/Warning for Erie County (deepest snow area)
338 PM Sat Nov 15
LES Watch for Monday evening through Wed morning
1-2ft or more in persistent bands

348 PM Sun Nov 16
LES Warning from 5pm Monday through 1pm Wed
around 2ft in persistent bands, blizzard conditions
Impacts: Intense lake effect snow and blowing snow late monday night through tuesday night will result in very difficult travel at times. Some roads may become nearly impassable.

1230 PM Mon Nov 17
LES Warning 5PM Monday through 1pm Wed
2-3ft in persistent bands
Impacts: Intense lake effect snow and blowing snow will result in very difficult travel at times. Some roads may become nearly impassable. If you must travel be prepared for severe winter driving conditions with near zero visibility and deep snow cover on roads. This includes the new york state thruway from angola to batavia.

347 PM Mon Nov 17
LES Warning through 1PM Wed
LES Watch late Wed Night through late Thursday night
2-3 ft with additional significant accumulations late wednesday night through late thursday night
Snowfall rates of 3-5 inches per hour in most intense portion of band.

652 AM Tue Nov 18
no headline change
snowfall rates: 3-5 inches per hour, 3-4ft in persistent band

939 AM Tue Nov 18
no headline change
snowfall rates: 3-5 inches per hour, 5-6ft in persistent band

333 PM Tue Nov 18
LES Warning through 1PM wed
LES Warning 11PM Wed through 1AM Fri
3-4 ft local 5-6 ft ending wed
additional up to 2ft with second band wed night through thu night in same areas

no change to headlines thereafter

Flood Watch issued 711 PM Thu Nov 20
in effect from Sunday afternoon through Wed morning