WeatherBrains 389: Frustration of Shower Forecasting

| July 9, 2013 @ 5:15 am

WeatherBrains Episode 389 is now online (July 8, 2013). If you are crazy about weather, this is THE netcast audio program for you!

Guest WeatherBrain for this episode is John Mecikalski from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Using a tool developed at UAH, meteorologists in the continental U.S. now can get an advance warning of pop-up spring and summer storms before they pop up on radar. Using data from weather satellites, the UAH program can predict which puffy clouds are most likely to produce rain and lightning in the next 30 minutes to two hours.

While the National Weather Service’s Doppler radar network provides reliable data on the location and intensity of rain once it starts falling, models used to forecast when and where convective storms might start producing rain have are not been very accurate in forecasting either the exact locations or the timing of thunderstorms. The SATCAST (Satellite Convection Analysis and Tracking system) uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES weather satellites to monitor cumulus clouds as they develop, move and grow before they become thunderstorms.

During the system’s 10-year development, UAHuntsville scientists learned that important factors in predicting thunderstorm formation are temperature change in cloud tops, how strong the updraft is within the cloud, and determining when water vapor in the tops of cumulus clouds turns to ice. These can be monitored using multiple satellite sensor channels.

Also joining us this evening as Guest Panelist is LeAnn Lombardo, meteorologist with WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, WI. LeAnn Lombardo joined the WQOW News 18 Forecast team in March of 2006. A native of western Wisconsin, LeAnn was interested in weather from a very early age and recalls watching the weather from the back barn door of her large Clear Lake dairy farm. LeAnn completed her schooling at Mississippi State University and began her career at KAAL in Austin, MN. She has also been granted the AMS (American Meteorology Society) seal of approval and is a member of the National Weather Association.

After spending 5.5 years on the WQOW Daybreak desk, LeAnn decided to scale back her hours to spend more time with her family. You can now catch her every Sunday night at 10 p.m. and occasionally filling in when needed.

During her free time, LeAnn enjoys all the great Wisconsin Friday night fish fries, working out, playing volleyball and spending time with family and friends.

Other discussions in this weekly podcast include topics like:

  • Extremes: 122 at Death Valley, CA, and 32 at Bodie State Park, CA
  • TS Erick in the Eastern Pacific and TS Chantal in the Atlantic Basin
  • SPC slight risk area in North Central US
  • and more!
  • Our email bag officer is continuing to handle the incoming messages from our listeners.

    From The Weather Center:

    WeatherBrains 101: We are into the 2013 hurricane season and Tropical Storm Chantal was named just yesterday, the day before recording the latest episode. In fact, Chantal was probably born by an eastern wave. So in this episode of WeatherBrains 101, we take a look at what an easterly wave is and some information about them.

    TWIWH: Bill Murray is traveling in Oklahoma so no TWIWH this week.

    Listener SurveyListener Surveys: Okay, we continue to drive this topic into the ground, but we really do like to hear from you. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the Listener Survey. The survey takes just a minute or two to complete and provides us with an opportunity to learn where you are and hear your thoughts and comments on the show. Click here to take the survey.

    Web Sites from Episode 389:

    SATCAST Web Page

    National Space Science and Technology Center, UAH

    WQOW-TV 18, Eau Claire, WI

    Storm Highway

    Picks of the Week:

    Nate Johnson – Heat Related Auto Deaths

    LeAnn Lombardo – Wind Map

    Brian Peters – Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

    James Spann – Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

    The WeatherBrains crew includes your host, James Spann, plus other notable geeks like JB Elliott, Nate Johnson, Bill Murray, Kevin Selle, and Brian Peters. They bring together a wealth of weather knowledge and experience for another fascinating netcast about weather. graphic

    Category: WeatherBrains

    About the Author ()

    Brian Peters is one of the television meteorologists at ABC3340 in Birmingham and a retired NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. He handles the weekend Weather Xtreme Videos and forecast discussion and is the Webmaster for the popular WeatherBrains podcast.

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