Project Atmosphere-Severe Weather Days
The Monday back we had another guest speaker- Bill Bunting Operations Branch Chief (Chief of Forecast Operations
Branch Storm Prediction Center)of the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center. Mr. Bunting discussed his role at the Storm Predication Center and the center’s role in weather prediction. The Storm Prediction Center has about 700 people working in the center and typically four forecasters on shift all the time. He went over the history of the weather service; it was established in 1870 by Congress with Army Signal Corps. An interesting fact, the word Tornado couldn’t be used for the first 30 years in the service. Amazing huh! After going over the history of Weather Service Mr. Bunting went over Tornadoes and the prediction center’s job. The three main challenges in Severe Weather Predication is accurate assessment of current state of the atmosphere, accurately reflecting atmospheric processes in numerical models and conveying forecast (and uncertainty) accurately. Pretty impressive challenges, but something they are trying to improve on. Mr. Bunting ended with going over different radar maps and tornado predictions. An interesting talk and great information.
After lunch Bob went over the Atmosphere and it’s basic structure. Once we finished that we had our “Best Practice” presentations. Everyone was to show one practice that worked for them in class. Some really good ideas were shared. Some were digital and others were activities used in class. For instance, one teacher shared an activity in which she had students name movies and songs with weather in their names. It was a fun activity and a great warmup to the topic. Other teachers showed off their digital resources such as Nearpod, Plickers, and Showbie ( ipad app). This was an excellent way to collaborate and talk about what we do in class that works. I think this was one of the highlights of a workshop
Next day we continued with extreme weather, the Director of the National Hurricane Service Dr. Rick Knabb spoke to us about the Hurricane Center. He worked first for the Weather Channel and then became Director of the Center. The purpose of the center is to Advance Hurricane Forecasts, Warnings, and Resilience. His explanation and description of various components of Hurricanes and their forecasts were great. Every storm has its own characteristics and threats. But the one thing that was common in all Hurricanes was the storms surge which is deadly hazardous. “Storm surges are responsible for 49 % of deaths and rain (inland flooding) is responsible for 27% deaths. Not surprising Storm Surge doesn’t occur as frequently, flooding occurs more and is more deadly.” Amazing Statistics. He continued to talk about Hurricane Preparedness and the Hurricane Awareness Tour. The tour sounds really good for students and its suppose to be coming to Raleigh next may. Something I would love to take my students to. Part of this effort is the new hashtag they are using to promote preparedness for hurricanes
The whole effort is part of the National Weather Services Weather- Ready Nation. A great question asked by one of the participants was about “How do we change Hurricanes?” Dr. Knabb’s answer was “the reality is we can’t do it” or rather it would cost billions of dollars. Plus he believes most have too many environmental consequences or could make it worse. He believes we should improve practical reasons such as making better evacuation plans and better forecasts. Totally agree with him from what I have read about this topic. Great morning with him and tons of information. You can follow him on twitter @NHCDirector.
After lunch we had our usual weather briefing and then listened to Robert Rutledge, Head, Services Branch of the Space Weather Prediction Center. Why is space weather important? I think most who read this know why, infrastructure, grid, and satellites. Mr. Rutledge talked about how the Sun at any time could send out a Solar Flare or CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) that would affect the electric infrastructure and other items. The Space Weather Prediction Center hosts a ton of information about the various Sun events. Another website I have used in class for our Sun unit is the SOHO website.
After finishing the day we worked on our group projects that we would present the next day. The day ended on a quiet note. The next day we would start the last leg of the workshop.