Sunday, June 6, 2010

Supercomputers and Recent Tornadoes in Oklahoma: Predicted

Days after the terrible destruction in Oklahoma from severe weather that led to tornadoes, comes news of the amazing technology now being used to predict such conditions and just how accurate it is. They latest storms were predicted days in advance by scientists, even down to pinpointing the strength and the hours they would strike.

It seems that supercomputers are at the forefront of these latest technological advances and they analyze vast amounts of data to give meteorologists every chance of forecasting oncoming storms. The National Weather Service’s chief meteorologist in Wichita, Dick Elder, says, “What is disheartening is to tell people for a week that something is going to happen, get warnings out and still have people lose their lives,” according to The Associated Press.

As recently as the 1980’s computers could maybe forecast a storm 2 days in advance but spotters and radar were still used to narrow down the location, strength and size of a tornado. However today’s supercomputers can forecast a severe storm at least a week in advance and with more precision.

At the National Weather Service in Norman, the meteorologist-in-charge, Mike Foster, warned about the forecasts “What we have to do is build in the minds of people everywhere that there is accuracy in those, and when they hear something seven days out, there is some meaning behind that,” amid fears that people have become de-sensitized to tornado warnings in Oklahoma.

For full story to go The Associated Press. Were you affected by the tornadoes recently in Oklahoma? Do you feel that some people have become de-sensitized to tornado warnings, or do you and the people you know always take such warnings seriously? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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