Tornado prediction system to debut in Las Vegas
WICHITA (AP) — Technology set to debut later this month will let weather forecasters predict a tornado's path, officials of the private WeatherData Inc. forecasting service said.
"It's the next generation of precision," said Mike Smith, the company's founder and chief executive. He said the projections are so precise, "We can get it down to individual farmsteads."
The program, being featured Friday at a storm symposium in Wichita, will make its national debut next week at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas.
It has already proven itself, Smith said, by predicting the path of a tornado that touched down Sunday in a rural area in central Kansas. There were no injuries from that twister in Russell County.
The program is triggered when radar indicates a "hook echo" on a strong thunderstorm, which Smith said indicates a high probability of a tornado.
The technology is used on hand-held Storm Hawk devices that display weather information from the user's position. Trained spotters, storm chasers and weather researchers can then send information including photographs to WeatherData.
The company adds the information to warnings issued by the National Weather Service and relays it to other Storm Hawk customers.