Researchers running highly detailed simulations using satellite images, radar and ground-based weather stations were able to predict a specific violent storm 90 minutes before it hit a western Oklahoma town and killed a man two months ago.
The National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, said Friday the still-experimental forecast system could give emergency planners up to three hours’ notice of upcoming bad weather. Such notice is key for places where large crowds gather.
For the storm May 16 in Elk City, the researchers ran data through 36 simulations, tweaking data for each scenario. Ahead of the Elk City storm, many simulations predicted the supercell that produced a tornado.
Researchers said Friday the computer modeling will need to be adjusted to predict storms in other parts of the country.