5.5 Winter Weather Science and Service Advances and Challenges

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:30 PM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
David Novak, NOAA/NCEP/Weather Prediction Center, College Park, MD

Winter weather events are costly and disruptive to the nation. This presentation will highlight recent advances in science and service to help mitigate winter weather impacts, and further highlight remaining barriers to progress. For example, rapid advances in observations, data assimilation and modeling have improved predictions such that some major winter storms are being forecast up to a week in advance. However, predictability of these storms varies from event-to event and by scale. Further, societal impacts are more difficult to predict since these are dependent on non-meteorological variables (e.g., time of day, road treatment, social response, etc.). The variety of events, associated predictability, and societal impacts contribute to great variability in forecast confidence over a range of different forecast lead times. When combined, these factors present significant challenges to decision makers. Thus, accurately quantifying and clearly communicating the risk of winter weather events are critical to building a Weather-Ready Nation. The National Weather Service Winter Weather Program is guided by a vision of accurate, probabilistic, and impact-based forecasts. The program has embarked on several projects to advance winter weather prediction, including use of convective-allowing ensemble data, provision of probabilistic snowfall graphics, and impact-focused indices. These projects will be used to highlight the progress and remaining challenges to mitigate winter weather impacts and build a Weather-Ready Nation.
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