La Message Board Archives

Re: A rain surprise!

Posted by Bret B on August 19, 2012, 1:33 pm, in reply to "Re: A rain surprise!"

Amen, brother! (BTW, we're up to 9.5" since yesterday.)

I'm still wading my way through an online continuing education course in tropical meteorology (, but I'll be lucky to just learn WHY some of these things happen after the fact. I may never be able to do much reliable local forecasting.

The main problem is scarcity of hi-res satellite sensors: the TRMM microwave imaging and radar mission is a great start, but it's only a single low-orbiting (300 miles altitude) satellite, so we only get a couple passes over this area per day. Then it takes up to 3 hrs to process and post the data. So even though the data is much better than the GOES, it comes out much less often. Not great for same-day forecasting. Also, TRMM is several years past its design life. The status of follow-on/replacement weather satellite funding is a disaster. We could lose TRMM any time, and even GOES is pretty long in the tooth. (I worked on a small part of the TRMM satellite WAYYY back in the early 90's at Mototorla in AZ; it was launched in 1997.)

GOES is in the goestationary orbit at 23,000 miles altitude, so it's constantly watching this entire hemisphere. They post it's data every 30 minutes, so there's plenty of it, but it has a lot of limitations.

And I have no idea when they will ever get that ground-based weather radar near Cuyutlan repaired. It was very useful back when it was up.

"More sensors, Igor...."

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