top border

Please note, not all links may be active. This site is a snapshot of an earlier time.

The Calm Before The Storm (Warning)

Jason Samenow @ 12:30 AM

Tranquil and unseasonably mild conditions greet us today before we face a volatile Thursday. And in the not too distant future, AccuWeather may issue warnings so we'll know...


Forecast Confidence: HighIncreasing clouds, mild. Partly sunny skies in the morning will give way to mostly cloudy skies in the afternoon as low pressure in the Tennessee Valley gets organized. Southerly flow will help temperatures rise into the mid to upper 60s. Overnight, it will be cloudy, with a 30% chance of showers -- especially late, and especially to the west. Low temperatures will only drop into the mid to upper 50s.


Forecast Confidence: Medium-HighMild, stormy. A strong cold front will approach from the west. Ahead of it, a southerly fetch will boost temperatures into the mid 60s despite considerable cloud cover. By afternoon, showers and thunderstorms are likely, which may produce heavy rain and strong winds. Overnight, skies will clear and it will turn colder, with lows 35-40 (suburbs-city).

Pictured: A precipitation potential map from NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center suggests 1-1.5" of rain is possible Thursday, with greater amounts in the mountains.


Forecast Confidence: HighBreezy and cooler. Behind the front, we'll have brisk northwesterly winds and temperatures closer to seasonal norms. Under variably cloudy skies, high temperatures should reach the mid 50s. Overnight, it will be clear and cold with lows 30-38 (suburbs-city).

The weekend

Forecast Confidence: HighCrisp and dry. On Saturday, with weak high pressure in place, expect mostly sunny skies with highs in the mid to upper 50s. Expect clear and cold conditions Saturday night, with lows in the low to mid 30s. On Sunday, it should be partly to mostly sunny with highs in the low 50s.

AccuWeather to Begin Issuing Warnings?

In Medialine's Broadcast Meteorology discussion forum (Weatherline), a poster pasted an interesting excerpt from an email he/she received from AccuWeather as part of a "product update":
...AccuWeather is developing our own warning system as an alternative to the NWS. Our belief is that we can:

- Deliver warnings with more accuracy. The NWS often over-warns the extent of severe weather, issuing warnings that can cover hundreds of square miles, when only tens of square miles might be affected.

- Deliver warnings that provide more detail. This detail would include precise times various communities would be affected as well as what the affects will be, such as 1" hail, or wind gusts of 65 mph, etc.

- More lead time of warnings. In severe weather situations, every minute counts, and by providing a tornado warning 5-10 minutes earlier than the NWS, lives can be saved.

This development effort is ongoing, and we are encouraged with initial results. We will continue to work on this through the winter with an anticipated launch date of spring, 2007. We will keep you up to date on the latest developments on this project.
In response to this post (which included this excerpt), quite a discussion has ensued. Most posters have reacted to prospect of AccuWeather issuing warnings negatively.

My concerns would be the following:
  • Can a relatively small outfit in State College, PA effectively evaluate weather conditions all over the country and produce warnings that are more useful/timely than the scores of National Weather Service (NWS) field offices all over the country staffed with meteorologists who focus on (and live in a) particular area day in and day out?
  • Won't the public be confused by duplicative warnings or warnings between NWS and AccuWeather that conflict?
  • Is it appropriate for a private, money-making operation to be moving in on what many consider an inherently governmental function: warnings (for natural hazards) intended to protect life and property?
What do you think?

Comments are closed for this archived entry | Link | email post Email this post