Second Day at The NWS

This morning, I job-shadowed the radar shift. Most NWS offices do not have a specific radar shift, but the Albuquerque NWS does. This is due to the large area the Albuquerque office covers- it is the largest warning area in the contiguous states.

The radar shift is responsible for producing 1-2 hour short term forecasts based on observations, soundings and model data. They will issue convective warnings (severe thunderstorm, tornado) and significant weather advisories (just below severe threshold) if the situation requires them.

There was no severe thunderstorm threat today, so we spent the morning looking at model runs, particularly concerning a potential severe threat in a few days, as well at the current fire weather threat.

I got a little more experience learning BUFKIT, as well as some information on precipitable water, the Graphical Forecast Editor (GFE), and the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD).

I had underestimated the importance of precipitable water and the complications with predicting flooding. It would be easy to say that a certain rainfall amount translated to flooding- and you would be incorrect. Many things factor into flood forecasting. Will the moisture reach the surface? What is the condition of the ground (if it is dry, the water will run off and flood, if it is saturated, it will run off and flood)? Are there new burn scars to wash away? Flood predictions are not easy!

I also got to see how the NWS meteorologists alter model data to test forecasts. By editing a point on the 2.5 km grid map, you could play out “what if” scenarios, such as “what if the temperature were two degrees lower?” and so on.

Tomorrow, I start again at 8:00 am with a meteorologist who handles video editing. I will also complete Lesson 3 in my Synoptic Meteorology Course.

I hope you enjoyed the post!


About highplainschasing

This blog is about my tales in storm chasing. My name is Seth Price and I am an instrumentation instructor at New Mexico Tech. My amateur radio call sign is N3MRA.
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