All severe weather prediction tools undergo tedious testing before meteorologists can ever use them to create a forecast.
NBC4’s Harrison Hove was invited by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to test these tools still under development. He is one of five television meteorologists who will offer feedback, comments, and criticism after using these tools to forecast severe weather across the nation this week.
The Hazardous Weather Testbed operates out of the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla. Groups of leading meteorologists have been testing forecast tools for 15 years now before they are released to National Weather Service forecasters and the rest of the public.
Hove was at the Storm Prediction Center just minutes before meteorologists there issued a tornado watch for central Ohio.
The SPC monitors weather across the country, issuing severe weather outlooks and the country’s severe thunderstorm and tornado watches. Storm Prediction Center Chief Bill Bunting says his team relies on a number of forecast tools.
“Doppler radar, satellite photographs, we’re looking at computer model guidance,” he said. “And, really, the forecaster is using his or her expertise to make the best possible forecast and keep folks safe.”
Bunting says the work within NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed is critical because it irons out all the kinks in new, advanced weather technology before it reaches forecasters’ hands.
“The test bed is where we want to find out the limits of the new technology, the new science, the new tools that might be used in operations,” he explained.
The hope is that feedback from the meteorologists at the testbed improve the tools’ ultimate performance. Forecasters would then use this new severe weather prediction technology to keep you and your family safer than ever before.
Bunting adds the work the Hazardous Weather Testbed does will help his team of forecasters.
“We can provide more lead time and we can be more specific in that forecast, rather than just saying there is a threat of severe storms tomorrow or in two days,” he said. “We can tell you there is a high threat of tornadoes or a high threat for hail, whatever the particular dangers might be.”
The Hazardous Weather Testbed runs through Friday and NBC4’s Harrison Hove will have daily reports from the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla on NBC4 Today.