Skip to main content

New NOAA forecast model could buy hours of time in the face of severe weather

Bite-Sized Science: Warn On Forecast
When it comes to surviving natural disasters, time is of the essence. Even a few extra minutes of notice can be the difference between life and death, but now, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers believe that they’ve created a forecast model that can give not minutes, but hours of advance notice regarding severe weather.

In May, NOAA conducted its first field test of a new Warn-on-Forecast system, described as a “new research tool that has the potential to dramatically improve predictions of extreme weather at specific locations up to three hours in advance.” On May 16, forecasters were able to alert residents of western Oklahoma to the possibility of large hail and tornadoes 90 minutes before the severe weather touched down.

“We had a picture of the storms and their evolution before they became life-threatening,” said Todd Lindley, science operations officer with the NOAA NWS Norman Forecast Office in Oklahoma. “We used this model guidance to forecast with greater lead time and greater confidence.”

While the Warn-on-Forecast system was naught but a prototype at that point, it still proved enormously helpful.

“Based on the information from the NWS, we knew storms would intensify when they reached our area and were able to activate the outdoor warning sirens about 30 minutes ahead of the tornado,” said Lonnie Risenhoover from Beckham County Emergency Management.

While tornado warnings have traditionally been issued by forecasters who must manually examine satellite data and volatility in the atmosphere, this new system is capable of digesting far more data and analysis than a human mind. Enormous amounts of satellite, radar, and surface readings are given to a prediction model that determines how this data will ultimately affect the weather. This allows forecasters to predict hazardous weather in half-mile blocks every two minutes, Science Alert reported.

“That level of detail and lead time in a forecast is new,” NSSL director Steve Koch said. “To have information conveying a sense of certainty in so small of an area that far in advance is a success.”

While Warn-on-Forecast isn’t totally operational yet, it serves as an important step in more accurate weather predictions, which could save many lives.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more
This AI cloned my voice using just three minutes of audio
acapela group voice cloning ad

There's a scene in Mission Impossible 3 that you might recall. In it, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tackles the movie's villain, holds him at gunpoint, and forces him to read a bizarre series of sentences aloud.

"The pleasure of Busby's company is what I most enjoy," he reluctantly reads. "He put a tack on Miss Yancy's chair, and she called him a horrible boy. At the end of the month, he was flinging two kittens across the width of the room ..."

Read more