Keynotes

Tim Heller 
Tim Heller - Chief Meteorologist - ABC 13 - Houston, Texas

Challenges of Forecasting and Communicating Impacts of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey wasn’t supposed to be a major hurricane. Early forecast models showed the storm dissipating over southern Mexico. But as is often the case, the early models were wrong. In addition to tracking a rapidly developing major hurricane, meteorologists along the Gulf coast were tasked with forecasting the impacts of a stalled storm expected to produce unbelievable amounts of rain. This presentation looks at the challenges of communicating an unprecedented meteorological disaster.





Dr. Eric Bruning - Associate Professor - Atmospheric Science - Texas Tech University

Meteorological imagery from the GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on GOES-16 provides the first-ever continuous mapping of total lightning on a hemispheric scale. This talk introduces the instrument and the suite of derived imagery being produced for use in the National Weather Service. Because there is typically 5-10x more lightning in clouds than ever strike ground, this total lightning measurement represents a significant advance in being able to monitor mixed-phase updraft modulation on <1 min timescales, and the spatial extent of flashes mapped by GLM provides an opportunity to link lightning behavior and storm structure, microphysics, and dynamics through conceptual models informed by multi-sensor views of storm processes. Each of the derived GLM imagery products are tailored to a different aspect of the coupled electrical state and storm dynamics. Additional data from the West Texas and other Lightning Mapping Arrays will be used to illustrate the 3D behavior of lightning, and how it fills clouds, illustrating the rapid advances in the understanding of storm electrical structure that have been made in the past two decades.

 
Dr. Jonathan J. Gourley - Research Hydrologist - NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory

The Flooded Locations and Simulated Hydrographs project (FLASH): Present and future
 
Texas is no stranger to record rainfall events or devastating flash floods. While these events may become more frequent and intense in the future, there are new tools available to
monitor and forecast them. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of existing FLASH products that are available to NWS forecasters through LDM access. This summary will discuss product thresholds and optimal use during flash flooding events. The second part of the presentation will address the “so what’s next with FLASH?” question. I will show some result from our latest efforts to transition FLASH into a fully probabilistic system, called Pro-FLASH. The probabilistic framework will accommodate rainfall forcings from ensembles of short-term quantitative precipitation forecasts (including Warn-on-Forecast QPFs), providing the potential to increase lead time.

Dr. Louis J. Wicker - Senior Research Meteorologist - NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory
NOAA's Warn on Forecast Program:  Probabilistic Prediction of Severe Weather using High-Resolution Models
                                
In 2010, NOAA funded a program at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman OK to determine whether high-resolution storm-scale weather models, continually being updated with surface, radar, and satellite data, could help forecasters extend warning lead times for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and other hazardous weather associated with severe convection.  Over the last 8 years researchers at NSSL developed an experimental ensemble prediction system that appears to have skill, in some situations, toward meeting that goal. NSSL’s Experimental Warn-on-Forecast System for Ensembles, or NEWS-E, ingests new radar and satellite data every 15 minutes and produces a new 6-hour forecast every 30 minutes using an 18 member ensemble forecast using 3 km grid spacing (same as NOAA’s HRRR model).  For the past 2 years, NEWS-e has been run in realtime each May and its forecasts are evaluated by other scientists and NWS forecasters in the Hazardous Weather Testbed located at the National Weather Center in Norman.  This process has helped us learn a great deal about the use of probabilities in storm-scale numerical weather prediction, what types of severe weather NEWS-e can best predict, and how forecasters will use this information in their warning process to the public. This type of prediction system may useful enough to be implemented by the NWS in their operational portfolio sometime in the mid-2020’s.

Jerry Cotter - Chief of Water Resources - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District
Extreme Weather and Weather Anomalies - What Federal Agencies (InFRM) Are Doing and What You Can Do to Help Make Texas More Resilient and Prepared for These Extreme Events
Texas experiences significant variability in climate and weather.  Since 2015, Texas has experience a significant number of extreme storms, including Hurricane Harvey.  In response, the federal agencies are engaged in brining NOAA Atlas 14 to Texas, Watershed Hydrology Assessments, Inundation Mapping and Mitigation Planning Mapping Tools.  There are things the engineering and scientific community as well as state, and local leaders, to help prepare make Texas more resilient and prepared for these events.