Better weather forecast coming soon thanks to new federal funding

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Weather forecasts as we know them are about to change for the better. For scientists like Dr. Rick Luettich, director of the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 has been a long time coming.

“It’s really about improving our ability to do weather forecasting, and particularly weather forecasting of severe events like hurricanes and storm surge and flooding, tornadoes,” said Luettich.

The bill will give NOAA $25.8 million a year through 2021 to improve the weather observation network in the U.S, improve weather forecast models, and beef up the computing power needed to power it all.

“This resolution specifically says keep up with high performance computing and make a plan to use it so that we can again have the best forecast possible,” added Luettich.

And better forecasts will have an impact here in the East.

“We deal with tornadoes and hurricanes and we live the impact that they can have on us and on our ability to live here,” said Luettich. “These hazards seem to be occurring more often. It’s been a long time since Congress sort of told NOAA get back to really focusing on weather and really getting back out in front in weather.”

Luettich hopes advances in his research on storm surge modeling can help lead the charge.

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