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View Diary: The National Weather Service as socialist plot (158 comments)

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  •  Satellites and Hurricane Hunters (3+ / 0-)

    Does the Weather Channel have any satellites? Would they rent ours? Do you expect Weather Underground to make the hard calls to the Governors of Louisiana and Mississippi that Max Mayfield did before Katrina.

    11:00 am August 27, 2005: NHC Director briefs FEMA on Katrina, Warns that Storm Surge May Overwhelm New Orleans Levees  
    During FEMA’s daily video conference, Max Mayfield, National Hurricane Center Director, warns FEMA officials that Hurricane Katrina could make landfall near New Orleans as a Category 4 hurricane: “This one is different… It’s strong, but it’s also much, much larger.” Mayfield also warns FEMA that the anticipated storm surge could overwhelm the levees. Mayfield will later recall that he sees many “newcomers to the disaster world” around the table during this conference. However, he knows that many professionals listening in from the Gulf states have been through his hurricane prep course and they know that this is no drill: “The emergency guys, they know what a Cat 4 is,” Mayfield states. Jack Colley, State Coordinator for Texas’ Division of Emergency Management similarly recalls that, “Clearly on Saturday, we knew it was going to be the Big One.… We were very convinced this was going to be a very catastrophic event.

    Do the private companies have this expertise and courage?

    The Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is currently based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and the majority of all of the reconnaissance flights are based from Keesler. The United States Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are the only operational military weather reconnaissance unit in the world.
    Civilian and NOAA Corps crew members of The NOAA Hurricane Hunters, a non-military organization based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, are also tasked to support hurricane reconnaissance flights. Part of the US Department of Commerce, the organization maintains a fleet of three hurricane aircraft which are primarily used for hurricane research and hurricane surveillance missions.
    [edit]Hurricane Katrina
    The landfall of Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005 caused devastating damage to Keesler Air Force Base, home base of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. The equipment and personnel of the squadron were flying out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base near Atlanta. Despite heavy losses, the squadron never missed a tasked mission from the National Hurricane Center. The 53rd has since returned to Keesler and is now once again flying weather reconnaissance missions from the base.
    [Bolded text by me]

    I don't think so. NOAA is a bargain and it is the government doing it right.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 10:53:17 AM PDT

    •  Plus, this simply isn't true: (0+ / 0-)
      Private weather services do exist, and unsurprisingly, they are better than the NWS. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, the National Weather Service was twelve hours behind AccuWeather in predicting that New Orleans would be affected.

      click for larger image. NWS was predicting the correct general location of landfall well before Inaccuweather. These forecasts were 2 hours apart; the Inaccuweather one issued 2 hours earlier, but not updated until after the NWS. Since the Inaccuweather forecast shown is completely wrong, the NWS got the landfall first. And the NWS cone includes NOLA, while Inaccuweather's... doesn't. End of story.

      Unlike the NWS, AccuWeather provides precise hour-by-hour storm predictions, one of the reasons private industry supports them.

      Go to, click a local office, and click for a point forecast. Then click "Tabular forecast" in the toolbar in the bottom right below the radar thumbnail. You get... an hour-by-hour forecast. To be fair, the actual forecast resolution is about 3 hours, and longer as you move farther out, but less than that isn't necessarily useful. Nothing wrong with private industry filling in for services that don't have a demonstrable public benefit, either, so it baffles me why this is a criticism of the NWS, when the NWS gives forecasts by the minute during severe weather episodes.

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