Regular readers of the blog will recognize an image like the one above. It's a computer forecast model representation of what the radar will look like at a specific moment in time, up to 18 hours in the future. The computer model is called the High Resolution Rapid Refresh, or "HRRR" model. (I should point out that was the original name of the model, and is still listed in many cases on its webpage, however the National Weather Service (NWS) will be calling it the "RAP" model).
The NWS has been experimenting with the model over the last several months. Effective today, it is being used in real time. You can read more about the specifics of what the model does and how it will be used by going to the NOAA press release.
One example cited in the press release shows the performance of the model in a heavy rain situation over the High Plains on June 21, 2011. As you can see in the image below, the RAP model correctly forecast heavy rainfall along the Kansas/Colorado border, whereas the previous short term model, the RUC (Rapid Update Cycle) missed the forecast pretty badly in that area:
Overall, I've been quite impressed by the model's performance in both winter weather and severe weather situations. I will continue to post some more examples of how the model can be used in future articles...
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