Weather Event Simulator

The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Event Simulator (WES) is a powerful training tool which allows staff members to replay weather events in either displaced real-time or case study mode, and to interrogate archived data in detail within an AWIPS environment. A WES workstation is installed at each NWS office across the country. Real-time data is archived for later playback on the WES. Data includes computer model forecast output, surface and upper air observations, lightning data, satellite data, NWS Dopper radar imagery, and much more.

The ability to capture and review these data provides a unique opportunity for NWS forecasters to sharpen their skills related to weather forecasting, satellite and radar interpretation, and warning generation for winter weather, severe storms, and flash flood events. The WES also allows forecasters to examine synoptic and mesoscale precursors to an event to enhance their situational awareness skills. In addition to monitoring the development of routine and severe weather, the software also allows forecasters to practice issuing warnings, which is crucial in issuing effective, timely warnings in real-time events.

The best method of training is one-on-one, whereby a trainer sits with a trainee to discuss and evaluate data, interrogation methods, storm structure, and forecast and warning decisions. During a simulation, data becomes available on screen in displayed real-time, i.e., just as it would in real-time on AWIPS with a running clock, only the event is not live. This creates an environment that very closely simulates a real forecast or warning event. In this way, forecasters become better equipped to handle future events in order to best serve our partners and customers, and to help protect life and property. 

The WES even has its own scripting language (WESSL), whereby trainers can develop and run software scripts within a WES simulation so that instructions or storm reports automatically pop up on screen to the trainee.

Data images and animations also can be captured from the WES for use in Powerpoint and other documents for NWS staff training, online training, research, seminars, and other purposes. Below is an image of the WES at NWS Louisville.

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