NSSL’s “On-Demand” Severe Storms Verification Support System

The NSSL “On-Demand” Severe Storm Verification system, funded by the NOAA High-Performance Computing and Communications Program (HPCC) is a new web-based query tool designed to help National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists quickly verify their severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. The system is part of NSSL’s Warning Decision Support System-Integrated Information (WDSSII) — a suite of multiple radar/sensor severe weather decision assistance algorithms that run in real-time across the entire continental United States (CONUS).

Warning verification can be a time-intensive responsibility involving numerous phone call inquiries to the public, manual replay of single-radar data, and manual plotting and tracking of mesocylones, taking up to several hours. Using NSSL’s On-Demand system, users can specify a regional subdomain within the CONUS and a time period from 1 to 24 hours, then request the two new geospatial products, Hail Swath and Rotation Track data, in a variety of mapping formats. Requests are then processed and made available within minutes.

The Hail Swath product helps NWS meteorologists pinpoint their hail verification phone calls to the highest hail threat area, increasing their likelihood of finding hail events that meet their severe warning criteria and reducing their chances of a missed event.

The Rotation Tracks product has the capability to reduce the preparation time for damage surveys by combining the geospatial data with a GIS or other mapping software such as Google Earth to quickly determine where the potential tornadic damage may have occurred. A high-resolution street map of potential damage areas can also be produced for surveyors and emergency responders. Improved verification efficiency will get surveyors into the effected areas sooner, before recovery and cleanup begins.

Significance: Supports NOAA’s mission of supporting disaster response and has the capability to improve the NWS severe weather verification goals as cited by the Government Performance Review Act (GPRA). Long-term archival of these products will also substantially augment the severe weather climatological database.

Background: NSSL’s WDSS-II is the second generation of a system of tools for the analysis, diagnosis and visualization of remotely sensed weather data. The current NSSL WDSS-II uses these advancements and now contains over 100 multi-radar/sensor applications of all kinds.

More information: http://ondemand.nssl.noaa.gov