Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 11:30 AM
Mesoscale forecast products for travel information
Weather can quickly affect travelers. Consequently travelers want accurate and reliable weather information in order to make prudent traveling decisions. These travelers also need weather information presented in a user-friendly manner in order to make decisions quickly without having to look to many sources of for weather information. Under contract to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), researchers at the University of Washington (UW) developed a capability to gather data from the many networks of weather instrumentation around the State. They integrated these data into a user-friendly format and developed a web site for data display. The original web site, called rWeather, went on line in 1999 and was available on the Internet for public viewing until last summer. A second generation of this product, developed because of revised WSDOT web page display standards, became available on the Internet in late 2001 through the WSDOT Traffic and Road page, which provides links to weather information.
The WSDOT Weather web site provides key road-related observations and forecasts needed by travelers, including National Weather Service zone forecasts and warnings. In addition, the site provides computer-generated MM5 mesoscale model forecasts of road conditions on selected highways. The UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences generates the forecast products. This presentation describes the integration of weather information sources, the production of the high-resolution modeled output at the UW, and the web page presentation formats. The presentation also provides public evaluation and web page usage figures that highlight the importance of the information.