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5/30/2014 - New system to improve storm detection

As temperatures slowly but surely climb, people can expect thunderstorm activity to increase.

As temperatures slowly but surely climb, people can expect thunderstorm activity to increase, as is the norm during the warm weather season. Thanks to doppler radar systems, meteorologists are able to pinpoint their general locations, giving homeowners the awareness level they need to be prepared.

But according to weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, individuals' readiness may better than ever this year, thanks to the development of a new technology called High-Resolution Rapid Refresh.

Stan Benjamin, a research meteorologist at NOAA's Earth System Lab in Boulder, Colo., recently indicated that what's so great about HRRR is that it can spot thunderstorms among neighborhoods rather than cities.

"When a typical thunderstorm is about 10 to 20 kilometers across, contains both upward and downward air currents as well as other features that give clues to its potential to create dangerous weather, it's important to be able to see what's happening inside the storm," said Benjamin. ""It's a game-changer to go from 13 to three kilometers for model resolution."

Scheduled to be formally introduced at some point in 2014, NOAA officials also indicated that the HRRR isn't just good at predicting and locating thunderstorms, but also tornadoes, strong windstorms known as derechoes," as well as snow totals.

More people today recognize that thunderstorms can result in homeowners and businessowners insurance losses, as according to the Insurance Information Institute, lightning protection systems are being installed at a rapid rate. At the Lightning Protection Institute's annual conference, which was held in March, organizers announced that there's been a 200% increase in usage since 2011.

Tim Harger, LPI's program manager said that these systems help give building owners added peace of mind, knowing that their property will be protected from harm in the event of a lightning strike.

Entrepreneurs and homeowners should be sure to talk to their local Selective agent for more details on how to shore up their property's protection from the elements and have the protection in place should a loss occur.

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