Figure 3. PREDICTED AND ACTUAL PATH OF HURRICANE HUGO
The track of Hurricane Hugo on September 22, 1989, was more westerly than expected because the storm came ashore faster and at greater intensity than had been forecast. Although prediction capabilities for meteorological hazards have increased in recent decades, further research and modernization of weather prediction facilities should provide the accuracy and lead time critical to decisionmakers who need to activate evacuation plans. (Source: National Weather Service.)

PREDICTION

A program for enhancing the nation's capability to predict atmospheric, hydrologic, and geological hazards should include:

  1. Modernization of the weather prediction system. New observation and information technologies can improve the prediction of severe weather, floods, wildfire potential, and other weather-related hazards. NWS is currently deploying several new systems that will improve detection and prediction of severe weather and flooding. (See Figure 3.)

The observation systems being implemented as part of the modernization include advanced geostationary and polar orbiting satellites, doppler radars, automated surface observing systems, and doppler wind-profiling systems. Information systems include interactive computer, display, and storage systems for local weather stations and large central supercomputing facilities at national centers. These systems should be deployed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by the mid-1990s.

  1. Research to improve the prediction of atmospheric and hydrologic hazards. Research is needed to increase understanding of the physical processes associated with the generation of severe storms and to develop advanced numerical models to predict their characteristics. With the NWS modernization, such a research program is scientifically and economically feasible. The effort would increase prediction accuracy and the lead time for flash floods, landslides, tornadoes, microbursts, and intense winter storms.

A coordinated national program involving the National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FAA, and DOD, with full collaboration of research laboratories, academia, and operational fore-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement