To snow or not to snow: That is the question!

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – We all know how excited Middle Tennesseans get when there is a forecast for snow in our region.

Right now, one weather model is forecasting a major snowstorm for our area New Year’s Eve, while another forecasts a cold but dry end to 2017.

What gives, and which one is right?

Since Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast in October 2012, many non-meteorologists in America became familiar with the two medium range weather models that professionals use to forecast 4 to 7 days out.

One is an American model called the GFS, while the other is from an independent European intra-governmental organization and is called the ECMWF (or “The European Model”).

The ECMWF forecasted Sandy’s landfall in the northeast several days before the GFS did. This ended up becoming the subject of many newspaper articles from The New York Times to The Washington Post.

Look at the output from the two models for Middle Tennessee this Sunday: Not only does the GFS forecast a major snowstorm for Middle Tennessee, the accumulations expected from the model run in the 8-inch range for Nashville and 11 inches for eastern sections, including the Cumberland Plateau from a Gulf of Mexico low skirting the Louisiana coastline.

All this while the ECMWF forecasts nothing but cold temperatures for the mid-state, with the low weaker and much farther south in the Gulf.

(Courtesy: GFS)
(Courtesy: ECMWF)