This ‘n that: HRRRV4, Lake Charles radar announcement, upgrade YOUR tech, and GRAnalyst update

WSR-88D Radar
Lake Charles, LA will be getting a replacement WSR-88D radar in the spring of 2021. This and other news and notes, below.

Hello everyone,

OK: no more ice storms in Oklahoma City. That’s good. By the way, our dish is fine and the reception is excellent.

So what’s new? We debut the HRRRV4 on AllisonHouse Maps. So, the question is, how good is it? Every meteorologist who does short range forecasting just got fired.

And if you believe that…

The answer is: it’s better than V3. Here are the big improvements:

1. Improved cloud representation for boundary-top clouds, especially for shallow cold-air layers with cold-air retention

2. Better cloud bands (snow squalls, hurricane bands, lake-effect bands)

3. 3km ensemble data assimilation for improved storm prediction for 1-12h

4. Inline smoke prediction

5. Improved lake temperatures

6. Extension to 48h forecast every 6h.

Enjoy!

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In other news: the Radar Operations Center now has the replacement parts for the Lake Charles, LA NEXRAD WSR-88D. If you recall, it was mostly destroyed by hurricane Laura. According to a Radar Operations Center Facebook page post today, test data may be available as early as late January, 2021, with full commissioning in March of 2021, in time for the southern U.S. severe weather season.

A frequent question I got about it: why not upgrade to a phased-array radar? It scans the sky every 45 seconds or less, and has no moving parts! Well, the answer to that question is simple: money. It will cost over a million dollars to replace this WSR-88D. It costs over 20 million for a phased array radar. Furthermore, there are a LOT of issues to overcome before the data is of operational quality. I bet you didn’t realize that some of the data coming from them is bad right now. It’s an experimental technology. They’ll get it right, but it still is several years off. Not to mention, they cost over $20 million apiece, or roughly 10x what a WSR-88D costs. Nevertheless, it’s a great technology that is coming down the road.

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At AllisonHouse, we are at the forefront of the latest software and digital technology to give you the best weather data and visualization experience at a price you can afford. When you subscribe, you help us not only pay for the cost of giving you he data, but needed upgrades (and feeding Ryan, scientists have confirmed to us that he needs to eat). But what about you? Are you still using that 6-8 year old laptop? Did you know that you can do a relatively low-cost refurbish and take that slow old hog and make it a beast again?

Consider my laptop, now 7 years old. I told AllisonHouse it needed to be upgraded, or it wouldn’t be able to do basic things soon. So instead of replacing it, we economically refurbished it. For $125, here’s what we did:

1. We doubled the amount and speed of the RAM, going from 8 GB to 16GB.

2. And this is the biggie: We replaced a 5400 RPM mechanical hard drive with a 256 mb/second Solid State Drive (aka SSD-we could have gone with faster, but none were available due to being sold out during the early part of COVID-19).

This thing works like it is new (actually a LOT faster than new), running Windows 10. You can go to places like https://www.crucial.com/ , and get parts to upgrade your laptop or desktop (that wasn’t an endorsement by AllisonHouse or myself, I’m just using that as an example). In fact, most businesses these days, to save money and make their computers even faster, are doing exactly this. Why? Because you can make your existing computer much faster than ever before for about $100 (buy in bulk, it’s less). Now, many solid-state drives go as fast as 2 GB per second these days (SSD 2.0 even faster). How did it help me? Before the upgrade, it took roughly 10 minutes to fully boot. Now, it takes 10 SECONDS. It runs cooler, because the memory is better and the solid state drive has no moving parts, so it uses less electricity and is quieter. Not to mention, the cooling fan runs at low speed all the time now.

That’s something to think about. A fast computer for Christmas would make a great gift! Oh, and that 15 year old who builds computers for gaming? Yeah…talk to him about it. He can probably do it for you. Seriously.

Finally, a new version of GRAnalyst is out, fixing a bug where Local Storm Reports (LSR’s) do not show up when looking at historical data. Download:

http://www.grlevelx.com/downloads/gr2analyst_2_update.exe

You have a great December. Onward and upward, and do your best to stay healthy, and if not, I pray you beat this stupid virus!

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