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Thursday August 9, 2018

Assignment: Predict the 24 hr maximum temperature (deg F) for Houlton, ME (KHUL)

It has been very hot recently in the Northeast, even all the way to the Canadian border in Maine. But temperatures are expected to decrease to near-average as this week goes on in Houlton, Maine. Let's forecast Thursday's maximum temperature in Houlton and see what happens. Houlton is on the Meduxnekeag river, three miles from the Canadian border, at the very end of I-95.

Question: The range of model Tmax forecasts (from 74 to 82 F) is fairly wide. Can you speculate about why this particular forecast may be that uncertain?

What Happened?

The high temperature in Houlton reached 80 F, at the top of the range of forecasts, despite some light rain and lots of cloudiness. But here are the hourly cloud/precip reports from 8 am until 6 pm: Mostly Cloudy, Light Rain Fog/Mist, Overcast, Light Rain Fog/Mist, Mostly Cloudy, Mostly Cloudy, Overcast, Fair, Overcast, Partly Cloudy, Fair. So it was the kind of day with lots of clouds and some precip, but enough clear periods in-between to allow the temperature to climb that high.

The uncertainty in the model max temperature forecasts is probably because there was corresponding uncertainty in the cloud/precip forecasts. So a fairly complicated day that could have easily been cooler or warmer with a small change in the clouds and precip at that particular location.

Forecasts for Houlton, ME (KHUL)
Forecaster Tmax, deg F (error) Comment Day Score