Weather Tech: Saving lives & protecting property

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Forecasting weather, especially in the south, is no easy task. Thankfully, the tools for it and the science behind it have evolved over the years.

For centuries, cloud observations and animal behavior helped predict the weather. There is also the ever-popular weather rock.

Eventually, though, forecasters moved beyond minerals to maps.

"We speak the language of geography," said National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Barron. "Anytime we send out some sort of impact message, it's going to reference a city or place of interest."

Then, meteorologists began utilizing radar, satellites and supercomputers to monitor the conditions of the atmosphere that impact the weather.

"The number one focus is looking at what's actually occurring in real time," said Baron Services Senior Vice President of Research and Development Bob Dreisewerd.

Some researchers even take to the skies to gain a better understanding.

"A lot of other radars are stuck on the ground, they have to wait for the weather to come to them," said NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flight Meteorologist Jack Parrish. "We go to the weather."

These technological advances are not perfect, yet.

"To know which storm is going to produce the severe weather is still somewhat of a guessing game," said Dave Jorgensen of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory.

However, if these innovations are combined with multiple warning systems, they help save lives and protect property.

For the latest on the weather conditions in the Tennessee Valley, stay tuned to the Weather Authority on WHNT News 19.