Folks at SPC are top notch

Hey folks,

I just wanted to take a brief moment to share some kudos for the folks at SPC. I'm sure all of you already respect the tough job and hard work they perform day in and day out. I certainly appreciate their efforts, as I'm an avid user of their data and admirer of their forecaster's work.

What prompted me to write this little post was from something that happened earlier on Monday. I'm sure you folks have noticed their home page changes, which provide a one-stop shop for a few different products if you are in a hurry. I shot them a quick feedback email complimenting these recent changes, but also included a small suggestion. The suggestion was regarding the OVERVIEW loop on the main page. I had noticed after a couple of visits that the pause that is included in the loop occurs after the first image in the sequence, rather than the last, and that the pause was fairly brief. This is certainly minor but could be confusing if any watch boxes show up during mid-loop, just because of the placement of the pause. To my surprise, Jay Liang from SPC sent me a reply about 20 minutes after my email, thanking me for the suggestion and informed me that he had implemented the longer pause after the last image in the loop, rather than the first.

Wow, was all I could say. These folks at SPC do great work and often go un-thanked, except by those in the know. What a positive experience that was for me today, so please forgive me for cluttering up the forum, but I just had to share.

G'day, and best of luck to those out chasing this afternoon/evening.

Scott
 
Yes, they do a great job, and it is very much appreciated! Greg Carbin and John Hart assisted me with a few GEMPAK/NAWIPS scripts quite some time ago, and it's always interesting discussing potential outbreaks with Dave Imy via e-mail every now and then...
 
The folks at SPC indeed do fine work. While one could argue over the need for a watch box here or there or the need for an upgrade or downgrade in risk, in the grand scheme of things provide a high quality product. I am grateful that director Joe Schaefer was able to read through my MS thesis proposal (a topic similar to one of his conference papers in the late 70's) some time ago to provide a couple pointers. He also invited my UNL travel companions and I a tour of the joint last year when we were in town for the Severe Weather Workshop.
 
I agree. They produce most excellent products... Just another reason to Keep NWS forecasts open to the public: You couldn't get a email response in 20 minutes from accuweather.com :D
 
Scott, Robert, Justin, and Mikel:

Though only a few of my colleagues follow this site, the few that do appreciate your comments. I'll be sure and pass this along to the forecasters and support staff at the SPC.

When you forecast for the whole country each day, and the forecasts come from 15-20 different meteorologists, you're bound to have a few bad days thrown in there. Still, we come back the next day and try to do our best.

If anyone here has any comments or suggestions for improvements, we do listen. I can't promise that we'll agree or be able to make the change, but we'll consider most requests within reason :^)

Rich T. - SPC
 
Yes, I have to agree. We are very lucky to have such a top notch group of people. Rich thanks for the great articles and new severe weather formulas.
-Scott Olson
 
How about bringing back the convective outlooks with black backgrounds? :) That would rock! Otherwise, you guys/gals at the SPC are awesome. Thanks!

Stan
 
I think the SPC does a wonderful job. I have to say that expanding mesoanalysis to a national level was a GREAT idea because I use that significantly more than I use the "CompMap". I always would like to see the derived soundings with all the SPC parameters on there, maybe in a fine grid on the 3 regional levels, but I am happy with what is available.

Otherwise the forecasts are great. I don't think we could ask for more. I DO like it when the MD's have the overlayed features though :)

...Alex Lamers...
 
Always been a huge SPC fan, since the days when they did all my forecasting for me :wink: I love their mesoanalysis page, it's tops in my book for real-time data and obs. But I have to ask, for the few SPC guys on here...

Do you guys ever have a 06Z update outlook prepared, and, (knowing several of us are falling alseep on our keyboards/fidgiting with anticipation/making bets where the MOD will pop up at or if the 15% TOR Prob will be removed), look at one another, grin, and say "let's make'em wait another five minutes." ???

Several chaser circles have long-suspected this activity goes on in the wee hours of the night :lol:
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams
Do you guys ever have a 06Z update outlook prepared, and, (knowing several of us are falling alseep on our keyboards/fidgiting with anticipation/making bets where the MOD will pop up at or if the 15% TOR Prob will be removed), look at one another, grin, and say \"let's make'em wait another five minutes.\" ???

Several chaser circles have long-suspected this activity goes on in the wee hours of the night

Ahh, great question! :lol: I've always suspected it was a midnight Krispy Kreme run...but that doesn't hold for the years before Norman got its first (Krispy Kreme shop).

More on topic, though, I whole-heartedly agree (about the great job the folks at SPC do). Goodness knows how hard it is to forecast severe weather, considering that very few tornado days are synoptically evident.

I think an event that highlights the great work that SPC has done was the May 3rd outbreak. SPC went with the flow that day, by realizing that the model progs were significantly underforecasting the mid-upper level winds, which had a huge bearing on the significance of the day's storms. Instead of harping on a particular model solution, they realized (based on observations) that a high end event was in store for the southern Plains.

Fantastic work, guys!

Gabe
 
The SPC rocks.

Not only do I love the severe weather forecasts, but the whole site in general. It provides great learning opportunities. I really like the SPC publications, where you can go in and read case studies about specific events.

If there's anything I'd like to see added to the SPC products, it would be a probability graphic showing the likely areas of chaser convergence on severe weather days! :lol:

Just kidding guys! Keep up the great work.
 
Originally posted by Rich Thompson

If anyone here has any comments or suggestions for improvements, we do listen. I can't promise that we'll agree or be able to make the change, but we'll consider most requests within reason :^)

Rich T. - SPC

Rich,

I was wondering if the criteria for Public Severe Weather Outlooks (PSWOs) have changed? In the past, it seemed as though they were reserved for the most severe of severe weather outbreaks - those events that occur maybe 2-3 times of year. Either High Risks or very large MDT risks... This year, however, it seems as though the 2 that have been issued (on 4-21 and 4-29) probably wouldn't have been issued in past years. I'm assuming that population density has something to do with it (e.g. Little Rock, Jackson, and Nashville metro areas looked like they could have been affected today), but I'm not sure how large of a role that plays in the decision to hoist a PSWO. Ya'll do an awesome job, so this question/comment shouldn't be viewed in any sort of negatory light, but it seems as though there's been a policy change in regards to PSWOs (like the MDTs) as well.
 
Originally posted by Glen Romine+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Glen Romine)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Jeff Snyder

I was wondering if the criteria for Public Severe Weather Outlooks (PSWOs) have changed?

This was discussed in an earlier thread. See comments by Roger Edwards.

http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4001&start=15[/b]

Ahh... I wonder how/why I didn't notice that before... Without the explanation, though, it certainly seemed to be a 'cry wolf' event given the previous weight/magnitude of an event expected/associated with the release of a PSWO... It seemed to me that most folks who only understand 'plain-text' products would seek word from their local WFO instead of the SPC, and the WFOs HWOs and other discussions/products (e.g. "some storms may be severe" in the zone forecasts) are supposed to address this threat in 'plain-text' I thought. Along the same line, those who read SPC products were more inclined than just Joe Blow to learn/understand at least a fraction of the meteorology behind the risk assessment. Again, this is just what I thought... Didn't know that so many public folks read SPC discussions, as evidenced by the emails Roger referred to in his post in the other thread. It seems that most of the intense damage, injuries, and deaths occur during particular outbreaks, so I wonder if the increased "density" or number of PSWOs will lower the response/attention previously given to the product. I certainly understand the too-rare idea, since there's the chance that nobody would know what it means if a particular product is very rarely issued. And I suppose we still have the HIGH risk for those most-severe of events. I obviously don't know much about the situation in regards to the internal discussions, so these are just my rambling thoughts.

It's great that the SPC is getting more public visibility, however! Anything to raise public awareness to severe weather hazards is beneficial!
 
The SPC does indeed rock. I'm quite happy to see that some members of their crew haunt our boards. In particular, Roger Edwards deserves my gratitude. He fielded one of my more "duh, i r teh n00b" questions without being condescending. I didn't even know he worked for the SPC until then. :)

There should be a day at the end of the Plains chase season were we hold a party for those guys or something.
 
I like to see that they addressed my concerns over the use of "0%" probabilities in their severe watch probability tables. I noticed that they now use "<5%", which will save their butts when it comes to any whiners/news agencies that like to hound different forecast agencies...
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jeff Snyder)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Rich Thompson

If anyone here has any comments or suggestions for improvements, we do listen. I can't promise that we'll agree or be able to make the change, but we'll consider most requests within reason :^)

Rich T. - SPC

Rich,

I was wondering if the criteria for Public Severe Weather Outlooks (PSWOs) have changed? In the past, it seemed as though they were reserved for the most severe of severe weather outbreaks - those events that occur maybe 2-3 times of year. Either High Risks or very large MDT risks... This year, however, it seems as though the 2 that have been issued (on 4-21 and 4-29) probably wouldn't have been issued in past years. I'm assuming that population density has something to do with it (e.g. Little Rock, Jackson, and Nashville metro areas looked like they could have been affected today), but I'm not sure how large of a role that plays in the decision to hoist a PSWO. Ya'll do an awesome job, so this question/comment shouldn't be viewed in any sort of negatory light, but it seems as though there's been a policy change in regards to PSWOs (like the MDTs) as well.[/b]

Jeff,

The criteria for a PWSO used to be a HIGH risk, but we decided to try PWSOs for all MDT risks this year. You just started seeing them recently because it took a while to update some of our software. The idea behind the change was to get a little more exposure for the convective outlooks on days when something substantial may occur.

Along those lines, the threshold for a MDT risk has also been lowered slightly from the past few years. The categorical outlooks are related directly to the probabilities - we tried lowering the MDT threshold for hail/wind from >= 35% + SIG to >= 35%. There have been more MDT risks this spring than in the past, though most of them would have been MDTs in previous years (e.g., the 35% SIG hail/wind areas, or 15% TOR). We've been a bit lax in making some of these changes public knowledge, though I believe we'll address the categorical and probabilistic outlook relationships soon via the SPC web page.

Rich T.
 
Hey Rich and everybody else @ the SPC,
I know I'm late as always :roll: , but just wanted to say as everyone has said that you guys do one heck of a job. Keep up the good work :wink: !
 
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