Severe thunderstorms with multiple supercells and funnel rotation move across central North Carolina. (Photo courtesy NOAA/Kay Evans)
Recovery funds have underwritten research that is expected to improve predictions of violent weather, including the kinds of powerful tornadoes that have devastated parts of the U.S. recently. The Department of Commerce and the National Science Foundation have awarded nearly $7.4 million total to strengthen protections against all kinds of severe storms.
Better Forecasting and Analyses
A supercell thunderstorm punched this radar's dome inward.
Despite having extensive knowledge of the major forces and dynamics of severe weather, meteorologists have difficulty forecasting quickly and precisely the intensity of heavy thunderstorms and associated tornadoes and floods. Detailed forecasts issued with enough lead time would help focus warnings more narrowly and prompt faster defensive actions. A $416,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to Atmospheric & Environmental Research, Inc. of Lexington, Massachusetts, is paying for studies to identify the smallest initial atmospheric changes or disturbances that eventually lead to the most severe weather.
The Department of Commerce awarded a $6.9 million Recovery contract to L-3 Services, Inc. of Norman, Oklahoma to enhance capabilities of the existing weather radar system used by the National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Modifications to existing hardware and software will enable the system to gather meteorological data with greater thoroughness and speed. Among the expected benefits are increased accuracy of forecasts of precipitation, more detailed detection of rain-snow lines, and improved detection of likely tornadoes and flash floods.
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