National Weather Service details how your weather forecast is created

National Weather Service details how your weather forecast is created (NTV News)

Technology plays a key role in forecasting, but one of the most important tools is actually pretty simple.

Everything begins with weather balloons.

Hundreds of balloons are launched twice a day at the same time around the globe.

Here in Nebraska, balloons are deployed from North Platte and Omaha.

They have an instrument attached that measures data including temperature, wind speed and direction, plus humidity.

"We used that information that's retrieved from those weather balloons to ingest that into our computer models," said Cindy Fay, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Then we look at the computer models to track weather systems and see where these weather systems are going."

Once computer models begin forecasting, meterologists can go in and compare models to current conditions.

Satellites in space, radar and trained observers on the ground all compile information on what's happening right now.

Then forecasters can go in and determine which model is handling the system better, or if they need to blend what the models are predicting.

One thing is certain - meteorologists are always making adjustments to the forecast based on data collected from current conditions.

"The forecast does change," Fay said. "It's constantly updating and the forecast you saw two days ago may not be as representative. We're always updating the forecast. It's constantly evolving and changing."

The National Weather Service encourages you to report weather when it's happening in your area.

If it's raining, snowing or you're seeing reduced visibility, you can let the National Weather Center know via Facebook, Twitter, or head over to

Extra data collected from the public can help keep forecasts as up to date as possible.

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