North Texas

How the National Weather Service Simulated a Winter Storm

Meteorologists took part in four days of a simulated snow storm involving every shift and team member

The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Fort Worth is trying something new this year to prepare for potentially dangerous winter weather.

They took part in four days of a simulated snow storm involving every shift and team member.

“We basically simulated a real weather event developing over North Texas from the standpoint of forecasting as well as communicating to our partners in the public,” Meteorologist-In-Charge Tom Bradshaw explained.

They used an actual storm that impacted North Texas in 2012.

"It was chosen because it presented a lot of forecast and challenges for the folks here in North Texas,” Bradshaw said, “We have a lot of good data representing model solutions and it really challenged the forecasters to identify the right mix of models to get the best forecast."

When a storm like this hits North Texas it affects roads, schools, emergency services and airports, and ice could cause power outages.

“Here in North Texas, we do you get winter weather but we don't get it very often. So, the forecasters need as many repetitions as they possibly can [get] so they can be very sharp when real storms come through here,” Bradshaw said.

The NWS worked with emergency personnel and the media as parts of their drill. This was the first time the team has done such a lengthy and involved exercise.

"We knocked a lot of rust off and I think we are ready for a real winter weather event if we happen to face one or two here this winter,” Bradshaw said.

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