CPC Review: October 2012

Once again, we review how the CPC monthly outlook performed.  We’ll begin by looking at the temperature outlook.  Recall, that on the last day in September, the CPC changed their temperature outlook dramatically, resulting in this:

CPC October Temperature Outlook

Here’s what actually happened:


Temperature anomalies for October 2012.

Well, thank goodness they changed at the last minute.  The band of below-normal temperatures should’ve been shifted westward to include all of the Central Plains and front range of the Rockies.  The above normal temperature forecast in the west was too broad and should not have included as much of the Pacific Northwest.  The above normal temperatures in the Northeast were completely missed by the CPC, although they did give “equal chance” for above or below normal temperatures there, so you could argue they weren’t completely wrong.

On to precipitation.  Here’s the original outlook:

CPC October Precipitation Outlook

And here’s what happened:


Precipitation anomalies for October 2012.

I have to say, the CPC did a pretty good job with their outlook in the east, especially extending the above normal precipitation back into the Great Lakes.  You could argue they were inaccurate in much of the southeast, but, overall, it’s not that bad considering how tough it is to predict precipitation over an entire month.

The western half of the country is a different story.  The Pacific Northwest experienced above normal precipitation as did southern Nevada and western Arizona.  This completely contradicts the CPC outlook, which had drier conditions from the Pacific Northwest, down the coast and eastward into the desert southwest.

FINAL VERDICT: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Laughably Wrong” and 10 being “Frighteningly Accurate,” I will (subjectively) assign an overall score of 6.5 to the CPC October outlook.  Breaking it down, I gave them an 8 for the temperature outlook (again, thankfully they changed it at the last moment), as it was pretty accurate.  I scored the precipitation outlook a 5 since it was quite accurate in the east and quite inaccurate in the west.

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