IFPS allows National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters to prepare graphical depictions of present and predicted weather. No longer does the forecaster type in text for routinely scheduled forecast products. Instead, the forecaster works in a forecast database environment containing various grids of weather elements. The forecaster inherits a forecast database from the previous shift. When the forecast requires updating, the forecaster can utilize a set of editing tools, or the weather element can be created completely from scratch. The forecaster can populate these grids with model data or, as in this study, use data from locally developed studies or climatologies. The forecaster then edits the grids to reflect local experience and knowledge, providing “value-added” input to the forecast. A set of “tools” allows the forecaster to interpolate, fill in other associated weather elements, check for consistency among the weather elements, publish the grids to a national database, generate graphical products for the web, and produce routinely scheduled text products for public, marine, and fire weather services.
We currently are incorporating the summertime lightning distributions for various low-level flow regimes into IFPS/Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE), as a first guess for daily thunderstorm patterns. This paper describes the utility of using the lightning climatologies, their incorporation into GFE, and how they can be used as a “first guess” for normal daily summertime thunderstorm activity. These lightning climatologies provide improved resolution, enabling more detailed forecasting of the times and locations of convective storm development. Incorporating these climatological data into the IFPS/GFE provides much needed assistance to the meteorologist faced with the challenge of making detailed forecasts of summertime convection in areas of sea breeze development.