Thursday, 15 November 2001: 8:20 AM
A New Approach to Fire Weather Forecasting at the Tulsa WFO
The modernization of the National Weather Service (NWS) has given the local Weather Forecast Office (WFO) access to many new technologies. One of these provides the ability to create graphical areal forecasts. Through the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE, Forecast Systems Laboratory, Boulder, CO), a forecaster can edit high resolution gridded model output to produce graphical fire weather forecasts with resolutions of 5 km or less. Algorithms have also been locally developed to create tabular fire weather forecasts from the edited gridded fields. The forecast process then provides the meteorologist an opportunity to adjust model forecasts for local biases and terrain effects. The Tulsa, Oklahoma WFO has been a test office for this new technology and has been using it to create text and graphical fire weather forecasts since March 2001.
Forecasters at the Tulsa WFO are among the first in the country to use the GFE to produce graphical forecasts. Forecasters can select gridded forecast output from the various NCEP short range models. From these gridded fields, forecasts of temperature, relative humidity, mixing height, transport wind speed and direction, ventilation rate, and other parameters are modified to make hourly graphical forecasts and three-hourly tabular forecasts. Finally, dissemination of these products is achieved by the NWWS, the WFO Tulsa website, as well as the Emergency Management Decision Support (EMDS) system which can display both the graphical and text products in one auto-updating display.