NEWxSFC began in 1999 on USENET's ne.weather newsgroup. USENET was the only place where wx enthusiasts from far and wide could gather to monger model output...share observations...opinions...forecasts...and outlooks. Nowadays...multiple on-line forums with greatly enhanced capabilities flourish which has dispersed the population of people who might want to participate in an organized...winter-long snowfall forecasting contest but just don't know there is such a event.
Letting people know about a contest-worthy snowstorm has become a lengthy...time-consuming affair. The NEWxSFC takes a lot of time to administer...especially in the run-up to a snowstorm. Over 700 e-mail 'Call for Forecasts' announcements...sent 49 at a time every 16 minutes so as not to be flagged as spam...have gone out for prior to the late evening deadline each event. Invitations are sent to past and present Contest participants as well as weather enthusiasts in the M-A and NE. There has been a historically low response rate from these mass mailings.
'Call for Forecasts' announcements have also been made on the NEWxSFC web blog...web site...NE_WX GoogleGroup...StormVista...and at one time...The Golden Snowball. The 'Call for Forecasts'...'The Forecasts'...'Preliminary Verification'...and 'Final Results' posts on StormVista generated very few replies and a dozen or so views. Veteran NEWxSFC forecasters have made 'Call for Forecasts' announcements on other wx boards...such as EasternUSWx...with little effect. I appreciate their efforts and have been puzzled by how little interest was generated...given how much interest there is when winter wx threatens the M-A and NE.
Contest participation rates have remained steady over the years. Most events attract 8 - 15 forecasters. Most seasons see 8 - 10 forecasters eligible for ranking in the 'Final Standings.' Some veteran forecasters have understandably dropped out and few new forecasters stick around.
This winter would be Contest’s 12th season. NEWxSFC is the longest continuously held snowfall-forecasting contest on the World Wide Web. It has evolved over the years from a time when entries were harvested individually from ne.weather newsgroup and manually entered into a spreadsheet to an on-line interactive... password-protected Access database. NEWxSFC was cited in a paper delivered at the 90th Annual AMS Meeting [26th Conference on Interactive Information and Processing Systems (IIPS) for Meteorology, Oceanography, and Hydrology (http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/164417.pdf)] JAN-10 in Atlanta…GA.
I like the way NEWxSFC has developed and matured over the years but I am no longer interested or able to run the Contest as it’s been run in the past. I had decided to the pull the plug and walk away but came to find out…I simply couldn’t do it.
NEWxSFC: Winter ’10 / ‘11
Greatly scaled-back Contests will be held this winter.
There will be a 'Season-total' contest. 'Call for Forecasts' are usually made 01-NOV with a 30-NOV deadline. This year...the 'Call for Forecasts' goes out today (01-DEC) with an 11:59 PM EST 15-DEC deadline. Will likely send an e-mail announcement to last year's participants before week's end. Please hold off entering your forecast until early next week (after 12-DEC) to give me some time to do a little housekeeping and to make sure everything still works.
All past account information (User ID and passwords) for the ‘Season-total’ and ‘Regular’ season Contests will be deleted as was the practice in the past. Forecasters will need to create a separate account for each Contest. User ID and Password can be the same for each account…if so desired.
The ‘Regular’ season contest will kick off when the first contest-worthy storm presents itself.
All Contest related postings...such as 'Call for Forecasts'...'The Forecasts'...'Preliminary Verification'...and 'Final Results'...such as they are...will be made on the web log and the Contest's main web site only. 'Call for Forecasts' e-mail announcements will be sent by request only (send requests to: newx (at) newx-forecasts (dot) com).
One easy way to keep abreast of Contest status and announcements would be to subscribe to the web blog via an RSS feed.
Please feel free to spread the word in other forums and offer suggestions in Comments.
99/00 - spawned on USENET/s ne.wx newsgroup to discover which poster(s) made skillful forecasts for synoptic-scale snowfalls in the NE and Mid-Atlantic. No formal entry process. Forecasts gleaned from newsgroup posts. Five 'contest' storms.
00/01 - Permanent station list created. (RDU - CAR). Rules and scoring formalized. First Contest 12/30. 10 Contest storms.
01/02 - 'Season-total' forecasting contest launched. Twenty-five forecasters predicted each station/s 'total snowfall' for the winter. First Contest storm 12/9. Nine Contest storms.
02/03 - First Contest storm 11/27. Ten Contest storms.
03/04 - Web site launched. Forecasts submitted via online entry form. Forecast reporting and verification processes streamlined. Two forecast stations added (BGR, BGM). First Contest storm 12/14. Ten Contest storms.
04/05 - First Contest storm 12/20. Nine Contest storms.
05 /06 - First Contest storm 12/5. Four Contest storms.
06/07 - Regular season starts late with first Contest storm 2/14. Five Contest storms...last one in April.
07/08 - Record number of forecasters (36) enter 'Season-total' Contest. Regular season starts 12/3.