Friday, March 15, 2013

New Severe Weather Outlook Maps for the Upcoming Season...

When you're publishing a free "public interest/public service" type of blog (like this one) and running a commercial business (like my company, WeatherGuidance), that provides similar information on a paid-for basis at the same time, its always a challenge to decide where the line should be drawn when sharing information.  

After much debate, I've decided to start publishing a few of the daily severe weather outlook maps that we issue to our WeatherGuidance clients here on the blog.  What I will be posting here on the blog will give you a large scale view of any potential severe weather threat, including tornadoes, generally on a national scale.  I hope that you'll find the information helpful, and more accurate than some of the other "cookie cutter" products that are out there on the internet and on TV.

For example, here is the map that was published earlier this afternoon, valid for this evening and tonight (click to enlarge):

As you can see by the legend shown in the lower right hand corner of the image, the forecast threat of severe weather is presented in a color coded basis, with blue showing a threat for isolated severe storms (generally 25% or less coverage), green showing scattered severe storms (25-50% coverage), and yellow showing a threat of widespread severe storms (greater than 50% coverage in a given area):

If there is a threat for significant severe weather during the period, this will be indicated by a red shaded area (isolated to scattered coverage) or a lavender shaded area (widespread coverage).  Significant severe weather is described as hail of 2 inches in diameter or greater, wind gusts of 75 mph or higher, and/or strong/long track tornadoes.

Major population centers of an affected area will also be shown on the maps (as was the case with Louisville and Indianapolis on the above image).

An outlook specific to tornado potential will be posted here on the blog whenever there is a threat for significant and/or widespread tornado activity during a given time period.  For "day to day" tornado outlooks which include forecasts of less widespread and/or less intense events, please be sure to follow "The Tornado Chronicles" page on facebook, as well as the full website that is coming within a week to 10 days.

As an example, here is what the latest Tornado Outlook map looks like for this coming Monday (this particular post will not be updated, so please check the Tornado Chronicles for updates this weekend):

...and here is a zoom-in on the legend for that product:

The Tornado Outlook map follows a similar flow as the Severe Weather Outlook map, with the potential for isolated tornadoes shown in blue, scattered in green and numerous/widespread in yellow.  If significant tornadoes (EF2 thru EF5 intensity and/or long tracks) are forecast, this will be indicated by areas shaded in red (significant tornadoes are "possible") and lavender (significant tornadoes are "likely").

In general, the Severe Weather Outlook maps will be published here on the blog daily (one for today, one for tomorrow and one for future dates, where applicable) during the early to mid-morning hours.  The maps will be updated later in the day if necessary.  

WeatherGuidance customers receive the same initial "large scale" maps in addition to more detailed maps focusing on their specific location(s) and/or operating area, as well as versions that are customized to address the specific types of severe weather concerns that impact their operations (such as the example below):

What kinds of clients does WeatherGuidance serve?  Here are just a few examples:  school districts, municipal and county governments, hospitals, sporting venues, amusement parks, outdoor recreation areas, industrial and manufacturing facilities.  For more information on the types of customized, site specific weather forecasts and storm warning services that WeatherGuidance provides, please visit the "Real World Examples" page of our website.

I hope you'll find the information helpful this severe weather season, and most of all, I hope that you and your family are well prepared and stay safe in the stormy months ahead!

For more information from 'The Original Weather Blog', including shorter, more frequent posts during rapidly changing weather events, please be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter:

Coming March 2013:  "The Tornado Chronicles" full website!
 Interactive tornado database back to 1950 (earlier years coming soon)
• Interactive radar with live warnings and street-level zoom
• Tornado safety, preparedness and education
• Daily tornado/severe weather outlook
• Photos, videos and more!

Please show your support and follow The Tornado Chronicles on twitter and on facebook for the latest updates on tornadoes and the upcoming website!

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