AccuWeather Supports Bill to Improve US Severe Weather Warnings

By , Meteorologist
May 24, 2013; 6:30 AM ET
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NASA'S MODIS satellite captured this image of the storm system that spawned the EF-4 tornado in Moore, Okla., on Monday, May 20, 2013. The photo was taken at 2:40 p.m. CDT (3:40 p.m. EDT), just before the twister touched down. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

"We can and must do more relative to severe weather," AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers testified on Thursday, May 23, 2013, during a hearing called Restoring U.S. Leadership in Weather Forecasting.

"People should not live in fear in America's heartland, in its cities and along its coasts," Myers added.

The Subcommittee on Environment of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology held the hearing in order to:

"...examine ways to improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) protection of lives and property through improved weather forecasting and to receive testimony on draft legislation to prioritize research and computing resources, augment observing system planning and emphasize research-to-operations technology transfer."

A draft bill in the House of Representatives, called the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2013, would put a focus on NOAA's forecasting rather than climate research. The bill would also grant permission for the government to buy weather data from commercial providers. Furthermore, government weather instruments could fly on private satellites, or vice versa.

At the Thursday hearing, Myers pointed out that the National Weather Service did an outstanding job providing warning for the Moore, Okla., tornado on Monday, May 20, 2013. He mentioned the huge progress in tornado forecasting that has been made since the 1950s.

A National Weather Service survey team photo shows the devastation of the Moore, Okla., tornado that touched down on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Myers agrees that the partnership between the public and private sectors is crucial to further advancements in weather forecasting.

"In the United States, the National Weather Service, America's weather industry, and the academic and research communities, each have important and complementary roles to play. It is a unique and special partnership for the benefit of the nation."

This topic first came into focus during Superstorm Sandy as the ECMWF (European) model outperformed U.S. forecasting models in terms of the storm's track.

"This gap presents issues from an economic, safety and national security standpoint," Myers said. "Relying on other countries, for better weather models, places America in a weak and subservient position."

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