Enhanced Short Term Forecast Initiative



Enhanced Short Term Forecast (ESTF) Initiative
Project Goal:           Selected NWS forecast offices will produce more frequent short-term (0-36 hour) forecast updates with high temporal and spatial resolution. The intent is to have forecasts match observations and expected synoptic and mesoscale weather trends to facilitate accurate short-term impact-based decision support for a myriad of users.
Methodology:          Implement hybrid schedule-driven and event-driven forecast updates. Scheduled updates are issued approximately every 3 hours. Event-driven updates are issued more frequently as the weather dictates.
Current observations are initialized into the digital database to match reality. Meteorologists then ensure the short-term forecast is relevant, representative, and scientifically-consistent with observations, forecaster thinking, mesoscale processes, conceptual models, and expected trends. Mesoscale detail and parameter gradients are incorporated into the forecast process.  
The majority of changes at each update will be in the first 12 hours of the forecast, but the 12-36 hour forecast also will be revised proactively as needed.
Eleven NWS offices are participating in a testbed to assess and determine the best process to achieve project goals while maintaining a constantly relevant, accurate database.
Testbed Offices:     Grand Junction (GJT), Jackson (JKL), Louisville (LMK), Paducah (PAH), St. Louis (LSX), Detroit/Pontiac (DTX), Grand Rapids (GRR), Gaylord (APX), Marquette (MQT), Goodland (GLD), Dodge City (DDC).
Start Date:               February 15, 2012
End Date:                 May 31, 2012
Services:              Improved short-term forecasts will facilitate greater user decision support.  Short-term information on the National Digital Forecast Database will be more accurate and up-to-date in testbed county warning areas.
The more frequently updated forecast products include “Point and Click” forecasts on the main page of NWS testbed office websites. Also, the “Activity Planner” forecasts contain detailed, hourly tabular and graphical forecast information (meteorograms) for maximum customer utility.                                 
Area Forecast Discussions (AFDs) will be issued for each significant forecast update.
Other forecast services (e.g., aviation/TAFs, AFM, PFM, HWO, hazardous weather headlines, fire weather, etc.) will be consistent with the ESTF.
Feedback:             User feedback is critical to the evaluation and success of the ESTF testbed process. Please forward your comments (benefits, drawbacks, perception, and utility of the ESTF) to your participating ESTF NWS office. w-gjt.webmaster@noaa.gov   Thank you.

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