I have found NOAA to actually be pretty damn good around here. I think a lot of people in their excitement forget to read the "possible" in the predicted amount. This is usually the most possible they expect and it usually means that about half that amount is your likely figure. Additionally these figures cover the entire region that the forecast covers. Some areas in the zone receive less and some more but generally that is the maximum possible anywhere in the zone.
You're pretty much right, I'm just biased because of the times I've woke up in the morning expecting a foot, and actually getting 2" of crap.
PowderHound and TreeNinja