Heads UP! on the over/under for Monday’s snow

With all the attention to a certain ‘big game’ and a certain furry weather ‘forecaster’, Monday’s forecast for snow has received less attention.

In sports betting, the over/under is a bet that some statistic from a game will be exceeded or fall short of a given number. The common example is the total number of points scored by both teams combined. The person who sets the bet tries to estimate the over/under as accurately as possible so the amount of money bet correctly won’t be more than the amount of money bet wrongly. Many bets are made for various statistics for a given game.

But what if the oddsmaker sets an over/under on a number for some rare occurrence? What could an over/under be on the number of times the teams will fumble the ball? Some games go without a fumble. Sometimes, the defenses are really good or the ball is slippery and 2, 5 or more fumbles occur. So it’s hard to put an over/under on a rare event.

So, let’s look at the National Weather Service forecast for Monday for Westchester County
StormTotalSnowFcst

So, it looks like the over/under would be somewhere in the 4 to 6 inches range. But with the center of the storm passing so far away – over 200 miles to the southeast of New York City, the likelihood of no snow is a distinct possibility. So zero inches may be as possible as 6 inches, making an over/under of, say, five inches, a tough bet for the Weather Service.

But wait, here’s the NWS inside talk about the snowfall…. (4pm Weather Forecast Discussion from the NYC office)
[The snow is] LIKELY ADD UP TO
3 TO 5 INCHES AREA-WIDE…THEREFORE A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS
BEEN ISSUED FOR ALL ZONES. HOWEVER…THERE IS SOME BUST POTENTIAL
HERE. IF HEAVY SNOW CAN GET GOING RIGHT OFF THE BAT…THEN LOW-END
WARNING [6 inches+] AMOUNTS MAY BE ACHIEVED. THEREFORE…SUBSEQUENT SHIFTS
WILL HAVE TO CAREFULLY MONITOR THE SITUATION. ON THE FLIP SIDE…A
WARMER BOUNDARY LAYER INTO THE DAY MONDAY WOULD HOLD DOWN ACCUMS
SOME. IT/S STILL A FLUID SITUATION DUE TO THE EVOLVING
THERMODYNAMIC PROFILES…BUT AT THIS TIME CONFIDENCE IS HIGHEST IN
ADVISORY [3 inches] AMOUNTS.

So, in this situation, perhaps 4 or 5 inches really is a good over/under.
Capital Weather Gang started using an over/under in terms of boom and bust forecasts in their forecast snow amounts, if you’d like to see how they do it.

Watch for the next storms Tuesday night/Wednesday and next Sunday.

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