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Weather Modernization Successes

July 29, 1999

Some success stories cited by the National Weather Service to illustrate the value of improved forecasts:

_Grand Canyon, Ariz., July 14-15: Modern Doppler radar detected rain of up to 3 inches falling over the area, threatening flooding of Bright Angel Creek. The advance warnings allowed park officials to close hiking trails and keep visitors away from mudslides.

_Beebe, Ark., Jan. 21: A girl’s basketball game was called at halftime after the school superintendent heard a tornado warning on National Weather Service radio. Thirty minutes later, the gym, by that time empty, was leveled by the twister.

_Zion National Park, Utah, July 27, 1998: Forecasters used new technology to pinpoint which drainage areas will flood in heavy rains, and park rangers persuaded most hikers to vacate the area. Two hikers who ignored the warnings were killed.

_Camp Springs, Md., June 17, 1997: For the first time, forecasters correctly predicted the arrival of the El Nino weather phenomenon, six months in advance.

_Cincinnati, March 25, 1997: Advance flood warnings saved opening day for the Cincinnati Reds by giving managers of Cinergy Field time to close floodgates and activate pumps to prevent flooding of the new $2 million Astroturf field.

_Honolulu, July 16, 1994: Using new technology to track and forecast the path of Hurricane Emilia, forecasters were able to avoid issuing an unnecessary warning, saving millions of dollars in evacuation costs.

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