National Weather Service launching extra weather balloons to help track ‘Barry’


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The National Weather Service has begun launching four weather balloons a day instead of two to increase the amount of data in the computer models used to forecast the track of “Barry”.

They began doing this several years ago whenever a tropical system was approaching the United States.

This extra data will also help improve the models’ forecasts for how the tropical system may affect areas inland as well, including the mid-south.

“Our models are what’s called a “hot start” which means that they’re constantly running. So plugging this new data, we’re starting with absolutely much better information”, explained Faith Borden with the National Weather Service in Nashville.

So what’s a weather balloon launched in Nashville have to do with a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico?

The storm’s steering currents are not only determined by what’s going on in the Gulf but also the prevailing weather systems across the continental United States, including what’s going on here in Nashville. We’re part of the “grid”. So the data from the weather balloon launch here helps determine the overall picture.

“The concept is, the atmosphere is a fluid. And all this extra data is going into the models. And even though it’s not directly where the storm is, that whole thing helps us determine where it’s going to go with the steering currents”, explained Borden.

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