All NextStorm products are generated on several dedicated Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, which provides scalable computing capacity in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Data formats include GRIB2, NetCDF and/or ASCII Text File (of polygon locations, size and orientation) at 5-10 min time frequency. Please contact NextStorm for specific information on data formats and transfer protocols.
NextStorm has three main products:
NextStorm CS-1 - Short-term (0-1 hour) Predictions of Convective Storm Initiation. Cumulus cloud objects are presented with a probability (30-100%) that they will develop into a convective storm within the coming 30-45 minutes.
NextStorm SS-2 - Short-term (0-2 hours) Predictions of Severe Storm Delineate. Based on the 0-1 hour CI product, the SS-2 product identifies convective clouds that have an increased risk for becoming severe convective storms. Cumulus cloud objects are presented with a probability (30-100%) that they will develop into a convective storm possessing strong winds (≥58 mph), large hail (≥1”) and/or a potential tornado. A polygon is drawn surrounding the severe weather threat region.
NextStorm LT - Short-term (0-30 min) Prediction of First-Flash Lightning Threat. Based on the 0-1 hour CI product (SS-1), the LT product identifies which newly developed convective clouds will begin producing lighting will be provided for evaluation. Like the NextStorm SS-2 product, the NextStorm LT product presents cloud objects as a probability that lightning is imminent and outlines a downstream threat region over which the threat exists. Radar observations are combined with satellite fields to product the lightning threat region. Emphasis will be placed on the ~30 minute timeframe.
Several other products are in development, including those that provide short-term predictions of heavy rainfall (>5 mm/hour) and of solar insolation.
As shown below, the GOES Convective Initiation (CI) product (SS-1) produces 0-1 hour forecasts (i.e. “nowcasts”) of new storms, specifically the occurrence of radar/rainfall echoes of 35 dBZ intensity or greater (or ~20 mm/hour), which is a heavy rain shower. Some of these storms will produce lightning. The colored objects are growing cumulus clouds within the GOES imagery. Their growth is monitored over successive 5 min images in GOES data, using infrared cloud-top temperature fields. The infrared fields help measure cloud growth rates, cloud depths, and if a cloud has ice or water particles at cloud top (usually the transition to ice leads to increased precipitation production, and suggests an occurrence of lightning). The colors represent increasing likelihoods that a heavy rain shower will occur from a given cloud object. For objects with values 75-80% change of becoming a storm in the coming 30-45 min. One needs to note the motion of a given object so to estimate the ground location where the rain will fall.
The Convective Initiation product can be customized and displayed over satellite, radar imagery, and/or with other environmental fields that denote atmospheric instability, winds/wind shear and temperature. Such so-called 'metadata' can be valuable when assessing the pre-severe storm environment.
CI Archive Zoom (below)
NextStorm integrates additional predictive information from numerical weather forecast models in combination with GOES satellite imagery data to forecast which new storms will likely produce severe weather, such as large hail, strong wind or even a tornado. The Severe Storm product (SS-2) provides lead times of up to 2 hours, and increases forecaster awareness of pending severe weather, allowing for actions to be taken far in advance to protect life and property. Polygon regions are provided of likely zones to be impacted by severe storms, which are similar to the polygons the National Weather Service issues for warnings. No other forecast product currently is capable of highlighting a specific region that has a direct threat of severe weather out to 1-2 hours. Radar only provides such warnings on average ~23 minutes in advance of severe weather.
Real-Time Convective Initiation
The NextStorm Lightning Threat product (LT) predicts where lightning strikes are highly probable (>75%) from newly formed thunderstorms over the coming 45 minutes and provides polygon-shaped regions to give early warning of the events. Two polygons are provided, one generated using GOES satellite data (accuracy ~75%), and a second that denote a 90% likelihood of lightning as radar data are used together with the GOES imagery. The lightning forecast is made before rainfall occurs, and well before any lightning is present.