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American forecasting needs improvement

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Posted: May 13, 2014 9:33 AM by Meteorologist Josh Eachus
Updated: May 14, 2014 12:37 PM
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Topics: weather, forecast, congress, models

Meteorologists are tasked with the unenviable duty of predicting the future. Commerce, industry and daily life depend on forecasts of the potential for killer twisters, crippling cold and destructive hurricanes. As society progresses, so too does the need for more of these forecasts to come farther and farther in advance.

Today, meteorologists make the most out of the technology that is available. However, resources have leveled off in recent years. To prevent stagnation of the science, last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 2014." According to Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow, with approval from the Senate and the President, more the $360 million could go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2015 - 2017.

In a previous article, American forecast model blemishes were compared to their often sturdier European counterparts. Samenow reports the stateside lag in computer forecast models to be a major factor in the government goal of improving domestic weather prediction.

Oklahoma Congressman, Jim Bridenstine introduced the bill in hopes of improving tornado warning lead time after seeing many towns in his home state leveled. He said lead times of 15 minutes or less are unacceptable when warnings of an hour or more are achievable.

According to Samenow, should the bill pass, it would dictate NOAA to develop programs that focus on more accurate and timely forecasts and warnings for severe weather. This would include aspects such as advanced radar technology and greater computing power. The program would also infuse money into numerous weather research agencies and academic institutions.

Thus far, after two Senate readings, the bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.

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