Storm Forecasts are essential to ensure the safety of anyone who is out in the open. Anyone from workers on building sites to students getting ready leave school – everyone should be aware of deteriorating weather conditions.
What is a storm?
A storm develops once uprising air thermals can cause ice crystals in the upper atmosphere and glaciate allowing for charge separation. Although it is unknown fully what causes lightning, scientists believe this charge separation is the most feasible explanation. Storms can become very organsied if conditions are ideal eg wind shear aloft allows for the updraft air not to be disturbed by the falling preciptation and downfraft air. If the organisation can be sustained in the most unstable environments, the storm can be sustatined for hours.
The most violent of all storm types are the supercell which with its rotating updraft can sustain itself for longer and support the largest hailstones (up to grape fruit size). Supercell thunderstorms can produce damage in cities in particular in the order of millions of dollars damage. Some of the multi-billion dollar storm damage specifically hailstorm and tornado damage are associated with supercells.
Because of the damage left in the wake of hailstorms, companies are now embarking on private forecasting companies to get customised information and forecasts of storms. We are developing systems that will make forecasting storm and associated hazards simoplistic to uderstand but effective in making decisions. Meteorolgoical model parameters and their perusal allows for storm forecasts to be quite effective from a riskperspective.