19 November 2006

Upgrades to the Future

Posted by Dan Satterfield

In the last 30 days, we have added 3 major new computer and software systems to the weather office.

The first is a new weathenet system that allows us to show any and all of our weatherbug sensor stations. Along with this is a new weatherbug for our viewers. If you have not already downloaded it, it is on our weather page on whnt.com. Just put in your zip code and it will find your nearest weatherbug sensor. These are professional grade stations and the data is very accurate.

I have had some emails from a few people who have found that the weatherbug sets off their anti virus software. This is a known problem and be assured the weatherbug folks in Maryland would not allow something like that on their software.

We have also upgraded some software we have been testing to allow us to see radar images in 3d. We can now see what armor sees in 3 dimensions! With this software upgrade we started running our Armor radar in what we call a volume scan. It actually does scans 7-12 different angles as the antenna rotates. This gives us a view of the entire atmosphere within 100 miles(every 3 minutes!).

Not only is this valuable for real time severe weather forecasting but it will help our partners at UAH who use this radar for research. There are only 4 or so dual polarimetric radars in the USA and we have the only one in a television station weather office in the world. (Although I hear that several stations around the world are now looking at building one).

I will be presenting a paper on our radar to the American Meteorological Society conference in San Antonio in January.

Last and not least (Certainly most expensive!) we have upgraded our work station/graphics computer. You have probably noticed this with improved graphics. Actually you have seen just a fraction of this systems capabilities. We will show more as Winter comes on.

The biggest change we have made is to produce a more forecast driven weathercast for you. Instead of spending time on the weather that is happening now, we will focus on what will happen! This new system allows us to show you the actually computer models we look at each day. I can show you the model that I think is the most likely to be right and strip out the complicated Meteorology and just show clouds and precip. and or temps. (The Metr. stuff we need to see is still available for us and I may show some of it from time to time.)

The new 10 day forecast is a part of our “new look” and as I say each time I show it, the last 3 days are an educated guess and could change dramatically. Still, I feel that it has some forecast value as long as we warn our customers (That is you!) I will write my next blog solely on the 10 day forecast.



PS Thanks to all of you who emailed to say how much you enjoyed Elvis-it was a real hoot to do it!

Category: Forecast Center, Forecasting, Meteorology, Weather,