Questions Answered III

January 3, 2006

Time for a few more answers…

Q.  What the heck is 00z? (From Shauna Parsons)

A.  Before we even start, let me say that Shauna Parsons is one of my favorite co-workers (she didn’t pay me to say that).  Always friendly and professional with a smile and a great sense of humor.   I’d say she’s quite similar to Shirley Hancock in that way.   But enough compliments, on with the question.  Because weather forecasting isn’t confined to one time zone (fronts don’t stop when they hit Mountain Standard Time), we use the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC or Zulu time) in meteorology.  The whole planet uses that time so it’s quite convenient to use for global weather forecasting.  Most (or all?) of the long range models we use are global, not just regional.

Here is a link to far more detail: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/MAEL/ag/zulu.htm

I mention 00z often because a bunch of model runs that come out in the evening our time are initialized at 00z (Midnight in England and 4pm in winter here).  Of course nowdays we get model information around the clock, but 00z and 12z have more information than the other times, especially the global models.

Q.  Where did STORMTEAM12 graphics go and why a change in the last 24 hours?

A.  We’ve decided to rebrand ourselves to better represent what we offer weatherwise.  What is a StormTeam?  Every station in town says they have one, but does it just mean a bunch of people standing out in the weather in little boxes on your TV?  I don’t know.  But FIRST, LIVE, LOCAL describes us much better. 

We intend to be FIRST on the air when important weather hits, as you’ve seen with the last few ice/snow storms.  Remember January 2004?  42 hours of continuous coverage on FOX12 broke a record for Portland weather coverage.

We will be LIVE at all times, including our live radar feed.  We actually made this change last summer, accessing the most powerful radar and radar network in the Northwest directly, instead of waiting for 5-15 minute old imagery.   Plus we are the only station in town that can display LIVE lightning strike locations right on the radar image.

And definitely LOCAL.  As I mentioned several weeks back, we forecast for more LOCAL cities than any other station in town every evening and in the morning as well.  Part of the upgrade is some new and improved graphics as well.  Plus, we stay in your neighborhoods with our radar coverage, showing you where storms are and where they are headed.

Q.  If I submit a question, will you really answer it? (What you’re thinking right?)

A.  I’ve answered most that you’ve sent so far, so go ahead and send more.  But if it’s mean and nasty "Nelsen, your ears stick out too far" etc…I’ll just ignore it.  I’ll get to that huge "where’s the cold air lately?" comment in a couple days. 

As for the outlook this evening:  00z models (had to say that), all show a nice break through somtime Friday.  Storm well offshore is pushing a ridge up ahead of it.  After a trough passes through this upcoming weekend the models are all over the place.  Canadian GEM says big ridge and dry next week.  GFS has been different each run, but a big "ridgier" this evening.  ECMWF is sort of boring-looking.  None of them have any sign of unusually cold weather (or even usual cold weather).  No sign of heavy rains either.