Atmospheric Sciences students at the University of Washington just finished a grueling eight-month national forecast tournament and did the Northwest proud by finishing in 14th place out of 73 schools and was the top school based in the Pacific Time Zone.
The WxChallenge tournament, run by the University of Oklahoma, challenged teams by having them forecast for cities across the nation's various climates climates with a new city in play every two weeks. Of the 10 cities to forecast for in the tournament, only one -- Astoria, Oregon -- would have weather anywhere close to a typical Seattle day so it was certainly a learning experience. (The other cities were Pensacola, Billings, Louisville, Syracuse, Austin, Burbank, Newark, Duluth and Des Moines.)
Each forecaster had to provide a daily forecast and were scored on their accuracy for high and low temperature, wind speed and the amount of precipitation that falls in the 24 hour period.
One UW forecaster finished in first place out of 1,500 individual forecasters on Day 3 of the "hometown" Astoria forecast and a UW sophomore finished 2nd overall among freshman/sophomores on the ultra-challenging city of Billings -- probably the most difficult city of the tournament.
There were some days there when there was a 10-degree spread between the high and low; other days when there was a 44 degree spread (A high of 76 and a low of 32!) The next day, they had a gust to 39 knots (45 mph!)
Great job guys and hope to see you in the professional ranks soon!