How To Forecast The Weather (in 857 easy steps) -

How To Forecast The Weather (in 857 easy steps)

Hi everybody! Matt Chambers here in the 4Warn Storm Center on Wednesday morning, February 25th, 2009.

As part of my daily duties here at News4, I record a video segment every weekday morning for called "Mornin' Matt". Basically, it gives me a chance to goof off and have some fun, and to cover interesting topics that we can't always get to on our morning newscast, News4 This Morning. The topics range from very serious ("Why is icing so dangerous for aircraft?") to not so serious ("Is Al Roker really a meteorologist?"). From time to time, I like to take questions that I'm asked, either by e-mail or just out in public, and answer them on "Mornin' Matt". That's exactly what I did with this morning's segment.

Today's question is one that I'm asked frequently... "How do you forecast the weather?" Unfortunately, there's no short answer to this question. That's why I spent four years in college studying meteorology. In fact, even after receiving my Bachelor's degree, I still wasn't sure I had the answer, so I stuck around Mizzou for another couple of years working toward a Master's degree. Despite my coursework, and 10 years in television meteorology, I still don't have all the answers -- far from! Check out this morning's edition of "Mornin' Matt" for more on how we actually create our forecasts.

Thanks to the Internet, you have access to almost as much weather data as we do here in the Storm Center. As we move closer to severe thunderstorm season, I visit the Storm Prediction Center's (SPC's) website frequently. Here's one of their products that caught my eye this morning...

The letters SLGT inside the green circle stand for slight. The SPC has highlighted our area for a slight risk of severe thunderstorms Thursday. The SPC has three severe weather threat levels: slight, moderate, and high. So, Thursday's severe storm threat is toward the bottom of the scale, but it is still a threat nonetheless. This lines up well with our thinking in the Storm Center.

While I don't think we're in for a major severe weather outbreak Thursday, I do think we'll see two rounds of wet weather. The first will come in the morning, and will be made up of spotty showers with a few isolated thunderstorms. Round two rolls through from late afternoon into the evening, and this round looks more impressive. It appears as though a squall line of storms could rumble through our area, and a few of those storms could produce gusty winds or hail.

Stay with News4 and for the latest developments on Thursday's severe weather threat. In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful Ash Wednesday weather with highs near 60 degrees!

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