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Weekend Storm/Rainbow Photos... Supercomputer... Upgraded Forecast Model... NHC 5 Day Forecast

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Updated: 7/29/2013 11:10 pm

After a stormy weekend for many areas, a little bit of a break through Tue. though there will still be widely scattered afternoon & evening storms that will be locally heavy.  Storms should increase again Wed. afternoon & continue for the rest of the week.  Photos below were from over the weekend - Liz Barber, downtown Jax...Sarah Hedden, downtown & Donna Yost-Williams, N'side.

From NOAA:
Whizzing through 213 trillion calculations per second, newly upgraded supercomputers of NOAA's National Weather Service are now more than twice as fast in processing sophisticated computer models to provide more accurate forecasts further out in time. And as the hurricane season ramps up, forecasters will be armed with an enhanced hurricane model that will improve track and intensity forecasts.
 
The scientific data and insights that these newly upgraded supercomputers will provide are essential to help government officials, communities, and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and water events. In support of the president's Climate Action Plan, the administration will continue to take steps like this to analyze and predict climate variability amid an increasing number of extreme natural events affecting the nation.

"These improvements are just the beginning and build on our previous success. They lay the foundation for further computing enhancements and more accurate forecast models that are within reach," said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "These upgrades are a game-changer for the entire public and private weather industry. In addition to the benefits to our own forecasters and products, we will provide our private sector partners with better information to empower them to enhance their services."
 
Nicknamed "Tide", the supercomputer in Reston, Va., and its Orlando-based backup named "Gyre," are operating with 213 teraflops (TF) - up from the 90 TF with the computers that preceded them. This higher processing power allows the National Weather Service to implement an enhanced Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model.
 
"These forecasting advances can save lives," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who helped get funding for adding even more capacity to the supercomputer. "It's going to allow for better tracking of life-threatening storms and more accurately predict when and where they'll hit, and with what intensity."

With improved physics and a storm-tracking algorithm, the model has displayed up to a 15 percent improvement in both track and intensity forecasts, compared to last year's version of the model. The upgraded HWRF is also capable of processing real-time data collected from the inner core of a tropical system by the tail Doppler radar attached to NOAA's P3 hurricane hunter aircraft, data which are expected to produce even greater forecast improvements. 

This is the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model showing the Tropical Storm Flossie precipitation forecast for the Hawaiian Islands on July 29, 2013 (courtesy NOAA).

"Next comes the quantum leap," added Uccellini. Following this round of long-planned upgrades, funding requested in the FY 2014 President's Budget, in addition to funding provided to NOAA by Congress in the spring of 2013 as part of the Hurricane Sandy emergency supplemental appropriations bill, would increase computing power even further to 1,950 TF by summer 2015. "That gives us the necessary computer power to run an enhanced version of our primary forecast model, the Global Forecast System," said Uccellini.
 
"Given recent events like the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma or Superstorm Sandy, federal weather resources and personnel should be considered vital national assets. These upgrades assure world-class capabilities and a continued pathway to keep American lives and property safer," said J. Marshall Shepherd Ph.D., president of the American Meteorological Society and Professor at the University of Georgia. "As a father of two children and a scientist that understands looming weather threats, I take comfort in these developments."

The above announcement is in step with an overhaul on the U.S. global forecast system (GFS) - the WCOSS Supercomputer.  While I'd rather not see the transition implemented during the hurricane season, early indications are that the "new" GFS could perform pretty well though we'll have to see as we get deeper into the tropical season.  But the upgraded GFS did indicate a decaying "Dorian" which is exactly what has happened.  For a detailed description of the upgrade from NOAA, click ** here **.

National Hurricane Center extends Tropical Weather Outlook to five days....
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) will extend the time period covered by the Tropical Weather Outlook (TWO) from 48 hours to five days. It’s the first change in the covered time period in several decades.
The NHC TWO is a text product that describes areas of disturbed weather and the potential for tropical cyclone development during the following 48-hour period. A probabilistic genesis forecast, to the nearest 10 percent, describing the chance of tropical cyclone formation within the next 48 hours, is included for each area of disturbed weather described in the Outlook.
Beginning on August 1 at 8 a.m. EDT, NHC will begin including information about a system’s potential for development during the following five-day period. This information will be provided probabilistically in 10-percent increments, and will supplement the 48-hour probabilistic formation potential already provided.
NHC is currently developing a corresponding five-day genesis potential graphic that may become available later this season.

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