New Satellite to Improve Severe Forecasting

Posted at 3:54 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 17:37:18-04

Storm Shield Meteorologist Brandon Wholey was able to take a trip to the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Below is a blog of his experience.

I recently participated in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Spring Experiment at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

It was a week long workshop where we were testing advanced products that will be used in conjunction with the new GOES-R satellite, which is expected to launch in October. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.

I was the only Oklahoma television meteorologist invited to this year’s workshop, which lasts four weeks. I worked alongside three National Weather Service meteorologists and staff from the National Weather Center.

All week we collaborated in teams of two and were assigned a different area of the country to track thunderstorms. The purpose of these new products is to be able to more easily observe the environment in which severe thunderstorms could develop.

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In addition, when thunderstorms do develop, the algorithms can easily sense whether or not the thunderstorms will turn severe. We issued experimental Severe Thunderstorm Warnings based on the satellite information we were getting.

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We were able to get out a fairly healthy lead-time on cells before they turned severe and entered populated areas. All of this information will be coming from the help of the satellite along with doppler radar and other weather technologies tracking these storms.

At the end of the week, we presented case studies we blogged about during a live webinar to National Weather Service offices across the country and other NOAA employees.

Based on what I saw during the experiment, the new GOES-R satellite will help better track severe weather and keep people safe. It’s an exciting advancement in the field of meteorology and will benefit us here in Oklahoma in the future.

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