The Science Of Forecasting Oklahoma Weather

Monday, January 31st 2011, 5:59 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa mayor, emergency management and the national weather service talked about what the city is doing to prepare for this storm.

Tulsa has 55 trucks to spread 9,600 tons of salt. It also has 38 snow plows, all of it ready to tackle the forecast coming from the News On 6 meteorologists.

How do they come up with their predictions?

Remember dreaming of a white Christmas in 2009? We got what we wished for and more. The Christmas Eve Blizzard was a nightmare.

"If people who were here last year remember the December blizzard... this storm is going to be worse than that," said Ed Calianese of the National Weather Service.

Local meteorologists have watched this storm morph and take on a monster-like quality. With words like thundersnow, ice, and bone chilling cold -- weather watchers are indeed watching.

"We look at the surface data, we look at the upper level observations that come in twice a day, we look at satellite data, we use radar extensively to help us look at what is going on," said News on 6 Meteorologist Dick Faurot. "What it boils down to is you have to have an understanding of what our atmosphere is doing right now."

The News on Six Warn Team keeps a close eye on models.

"This is a program called the buff kit which is a way of visualizing different atmospheric parameters," Faurot said.

The models give them a general idea of what to expect weather wise. The models are made up of information gathered from ground data to weather balloons. satellites and radars.

But it takes education and good old fashioned experience to read those models.

"Models are just that. They are right but you look at three models and you're looking at three different model solutions more than likely," Calianese said.

High tech equipment, trained professionals, and one last tool of the trade in a meteorologist's metaphoric belt.

"The more active the weather is, the more the adrenaline flows, so it's an exciting event for us," Faurot said.

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