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Old 11-15-2017, 03:32 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
67,777 posts, read 49,688,368 times
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They are getting stretched. A previous thread we had..
Weather Service Staff Shortages Have Led to Burnout Among Employees





Now... This is bad.. Especially for winter and high impact storms. We need those extra balloons to give us better atmospheric data so they can forecast better for upcoming days.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.b2a07e101561



Quote:
Understaffed Weather Service scales back balloon launches that collect vital forecast data

Weather balloons collect data that is essential for forecasts all around the world. But because of staff shortages, the National Weather Service has substantially cut back on launching these instruments at six locations in Alaska.

The Weather Service has suspended about 24 balloon launches per week, or 25 percent of the standard, according to Jim Brader, a representative of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, a labor union. This number is even higher when existing staff are out sick or on leave.

Weather balloons collect temperature, pressure, wind and moisture information at different levels of the atmosphere. The data obtained are essential inputs to both U.S. and international computer models that provide global weather forecasts. In data-sparse regions such as Alaska, they can be particularly important.

“They are critical especially in areas where we don’t have other observations,” said Ryan Maue, meteorologist at Weather.US. “We shouldn’t get into the habit of skipping these. When you have a weather system in which the upper-level ingredients are coming together five to six days out, you don’t want to introduce even small forecast errors as those errors can grow over time — and lead to forecast degradation.”

During high-impact weather events affecting Alaska and other parts of the country, forecasters can request special balloon launches, but Brader said even many of these requests are being rejected due to lack of resources.

“We currently are challenged to make all the launches in some remote areas of Alaska,” said Susan Buchanan, Weather Service spokeswoman. “Missing these launches brings our radiosonde network availability to 98 percent nationwide, which is still above our operating standard” 96 percent.

“As a meteorologist, I’m very concerned,” he said.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
67,777 posts, read 49,688,368 times
Reputation: 10962
Maybe they will send them only if there is a storm threat 4-7 days out. That would be fine with me.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
8,035 posts, read 5,635,354 times
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See, people are always beotching about the expense of government and government waste. Here's a fine example of what happens when across the board cuts are made.
[sarcasm] I could make a case that the entire weather bureau data and research and downloading all the data from the satellites should be stopped. Why waste all that money when all you do is talk about the weather, AND NOBODY DOES ANYTHING ABOUT IT! [/sarcasm]
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
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Extreme weather balloon launch this evening in Minnesota

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Old 05-31-2018, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
67,777 posts, read 49,688,368 times
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
67,777 posts, read 49,688,368 times
Reputation: 10962
Even in a snowstorm they do it. Every 12 hrs

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Old 03-13-2019, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
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Even in high winds they launch... luckily the guy didn't go up with it.

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Old 03-13-2019, 05:47 PM
 
2,214 posts, read 804,039 times
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tactics.
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Old 03-13-2019, 05:54 PM
 
Location: UK
254 posts, read 32,591 times
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This is a waste of tax payer money
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:34 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL
4,264 posts, read 3,398,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob93 View Post
This is a waste of tax payer money

How else are we gonna get actual data. They're pretty important.

Houston doesn't have an upper air program (which completely mystifies me but whatever).
They actually have Texas A&M in College Station, on occasion, release balloons to aid in forecasts. I remember one time during my senior year we released one during a fairly rare winter precip event. All of the models were indicating a very, very shallow layer of warm air aloft. Right on the edge of sleet and snow. Some thought it was gonna snow, others thought it was just gonna sleet.
Well, we launched the balloon and wouldn't you know it, huuugggeee warm nose. Nowhere near what models had predicted. Completely changed the forecast from snow/sleet mix, to straight freezing rain/drizzle.

Their soundings have been used by NWS Houston numerous times before for special events. Winter precip, strong thunderstorms, etc.
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