Weather-Ready Nation: Forecasting Models to Improve This Fall

August 28, 2014; 2:53 AM ET
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NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation initiative builds community preparedness and resilience to extreme weather, water and climate events. Importantly, AccuWeather was named one of NOAA's first Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors. AccuWeather's ability to provide critical life-saving weather services and warnings with Superior Accuracy™ to foundational infrastructure like rail lines and businesses where people gather, is further strengthened by receiving this weather enterprise leadership designation from NOAA.

NOAA continues to work together with AccuWeather to make a difference in people's lives under this Ambassador initiative, which includes the strengthening of critical forecasting models.

This November, following a major computer upgrade at the National Weather Service, the meteorological community and the public will benefit from improved American forecast models, paving the way for earlier and more accurate forecasts.

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The upgrades have increased the computing capacity for NOAA, which will, in turn, increase the resolution of forecast models, Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, told AccuWeather.com CEO Barry Myers in a recent visit to AccuWeather's Global Headquarters.

The Global Forecast System (GFS) will be able to look within a 13-kilometer resolution 10 days in advance of an event. Previously, it was only capable of looking at 27 kilometers 7.5 days in advance.

The improved resolution will help bring the model closer to the accuracy of the European model, which accurately predicted the track of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The ruins of an oceanfront home destroyed by Superstorm Sandy is scattered next to an existing home in Mantoloking, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Catching up to the European is a challenge which Uccellini considers the goal.

There have also been various improvements to the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF).

"We have what, I believe, is now the best hurricane model in the world," Uccellini told Myers.

"It certainly proved itself in Arthur. It really proved itself last year in the Western Pacific with those super typhoons to the point where we had countries calling us up to get them the direct information on these storms."

Since then, the NWS has been holding workshops in Asia and providing the code so that other countries can run the models internally.

"We're feeling very confident about our total model suite," Uccellini said.

Watch the full interview between Louis Uccellini and Barry Myers below:

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