New technologies currently being tested by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) could lead to models that have the potential to predict severe weather up to a week in advance. The new computing models, supported by the University of Oklahoma, the University of Illinois, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, use new types of mobile radar stations that have the ability to detect storms and dangerous cells within them.Experimental forecasts could predict severe weather a week in advance (NOAA)
These and other new technologies are already coming into use as emergency management officials use them to direct first responders and repair crews to the worst hit areas as those areas are being hit. Space-based technologies also offer keys to unlock some of the secrets of the most severe weather, and even more technology will be available when the NOAA launches new weather satellites around 2011. These days, severe weather reports also trigger automatic forecasting simulations on the National Center for Supercomputing Applications computers at the University of Oklahoma.
This issue strikes home for me as I live on the Texas Gulf Coast, which is threatened by hurricanes on a fairly regular basis. The evacuation for Rita, a few weeks after the Katrina debacle, was a fairly severe ordeal for everyone involved, myself included (we evacuated with a 9-day-old, while my wife had only been out of the hospital for five days after her C-section). Any system that tracks and forecasts severe weather looks good to me, as there is a lot of work that needs to be done at my place of business before I can even consider evacuating myself and my family.
What types of severe weather do you encounter, and will these new systems help you to prepare or respond to them? What steps do you take in the event of severe weather, and what steps would you like to take without such a threat to make your weather-threatened activities easier? Join the discussion.