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VIDEO: New Weather Model Could Help Protect You

Severe weather is notoriously difficult to forecast. Nailing down exact timing, intensity and overall mode of severe weather can be troublesome during complex weather setups. But the advent of the high-resolution rapid refresh model (HRRR) hopes to make short-term forecasts — 0 to 12 hours — more accurate. The uptick in accuracy is likely help forecasters and emergency managers mitigate the public’s exposure to dangerous weather events.

“The HRRR is a tool delivering forecasters a more accurate depiction of hazardous weather to help improve our public warnings and save lives,” said Dr. William Lapenta, director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. NCEP is a division of the National Weather Service.

The HRRR model has been out, in a beta test version, for about five years and meteorologists at WeatherNation have been impressed with it thus far.

So, what sets this model apart from other short-term forecast models?

Well, this model is hyper-local — meaning it has a very high resolution and can be focused on a small, specific area. The HRRR can also give forecasters a full, 3-D look at the atmosphere. It ingests current radar, satellite, surface observations, weather balloon data and even current information form commercial aircraft. This collection of data aids the model in better pinpointing the location, track and forward speed of storms.

The HRRR runs every hour and produces a 15-hour forecast. The data produced can aid in the decision-making process that goes along with the issuance of watches and warnings, giving people ample lead time to ready themselves for storms.

Stan Benjamin, Ph.D., a research meteorologist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory and lead developer on the HRRR model project explains, “the HRRR model will provide forecasters a powerful tool to help them inform communities about evolving severe weather.”

HRRR model comparison

Screen shots from older models, when compared to the HRRR, show the huge leap forward in model resolution. The HRRR is a resolution four time finer than previous one-hour models.

If you’re interested in learning more about the science behind the HRRR, NOAA has produced a YouTube video that goes into an in-depth explanation.

The HRRR model will also be used in WeatherNation graphics. So, we’ll be able to show you the product during periods of severe weather.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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