Storm Lab Overview
Our Storm Lab is a collection of pages providing quick and easy access to time relevant and accurate storm data for the Big Bend Area. Our goal is to provide the means for the prediction and detection of hazardous storm and weather conditions in the Big Bend area, warning the local community about them in an accurate and timely way and provide tools and apps for viewing and tracking via the Internet.
NWS Alerts, Warnings and Advisories for Brewster county - From any page on www.bigbendweather.com, hover your mouse over "Storm Lab" on the main menu to see a banner that will display the status regarding any NWS Warning, Alerts or Advisories being issued. If none have been issued, the banner will show the following: There are no active watches, warnings or advisories for Brewster (Texas). If one has been issued, there will be a notification of one displayed. In that case, to see the full message, just click on "Brewster Cnty Advisories" under Warnings on Storm Lab. The app polls the NWS for issued advisories so anytime you are on BigBendWeather.com, you can point to Storm Lab and know at a glance if there are any official advisories. Please Note: The NWS also issues a Hazardous Outlook bulletin, which is a separate statement. These are typically less severe, wide spread notifications of the possibility of hazardous weather. A link to this NWS product is also on the Warnings section under Storm Lab.
Possibly the most valuable resource for the detection and tracking of severe storms and lightning for both the public and community "First Responders" is our Storm Tracker app. The Storm Tracker app can be used to monitor local and "User Defined" areas for "cloud to ground" lightning strikes in real time. Being informed of where there is intense lighting and the potential for heavy rain and high water can be of great value for everyone in our community for a number of reasons.
Wild Fires - Although most wild fires are caused by man, lightning ignited wild fires typically cause far more property loss due to the fact that many wild fires start in remote places, where no one was aware the area had been subject to severe lightning and consequently, it may go undetected and then quickly spread. During times of drought with forecasts calling for "dry thunderstorms", remote areas may be monitored and any subjected to extremely high lightning strikes can be inspected at the first opportunity.
Potential for high water or flash floods - Being informed of hazardous weather as it occurs can provide a "heads up" for certain areas that may be inaccessible or difficult to access in the event personnel needs to enter or pass through.
The best tool for monitoring severe storms is NexRad and most places in the US have NexRad coverage and in times of severe and hazardous weather, would be the best tool to use. However, we are in one of a number of places in the US that is not covered by the NexRad system. Satellite imagery is typically not a viable option as most available data is on the average, 30+ minutes old and cannot provide the alerts nor the location data as our system, with its background maps layers.
Our Storm Tracker system can provide monitoring of lightning and severe storm in our area, is real time and is available to anyone with a internet connected device.
If you would like to receive an email alert when Lightning/Thunderstorms are developing in the Terlingua and Terlingua Ranch area, please use one of the "Contact Us" forms and I will send you detailed information how to subscribe and also unsubscribe from this alert. The alert can be sent to an email address and also as an SMS message to your cell phone (if you are fortunate to live in an area with cell service).
*** I operated a lightning/storm detection system for over 7 years in Katy, TX (west Houston area). One day I got a call from the head of IT for the City of Katy, asking if they could get a dedicated feed (of my Storm application) to their servers , to integrate with some of their internal information pages. They told me it had been an invaluable tool for them (city and county law enforcement and Fire), and gave them better insight as to what the weather was doing than anything else available...and they had access to and were covered by NexRad. Once you spend some time with the app and with understanding as to how storms develop and move, a quick glance can give you all kinds of information about a storm. The size, intensity, whether becoming more or less intense, becoming larger or smaller, the direction and speed of travel and those areas that could be subject to high winds due to a the cold downward winds like those associated with a microburst and of course, the amount of lighting occurring in a given area.
Below is a brief summary of the features on our various Storm Lab pages.
Probability of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning and rainfall exceeding certain thresholds. Lightning forecasts are for the probability of two or more strikes within the same regions. Rain forecasts are a 'best estimate' peak rainfall amount. Rainfall forecasts are for the highest rainfall amounts within square regions 40 km (~20 miles) on a side. Probabilities are for 3-hour rainfall exceeding 0.1, 0.5, 1, and 2 inches (approximately 2.5, 12.5, 25, and 50 mm). Rainfall amount forecasts are for rainfall in the categories 0.1-0.49, 0.5-0.99, 1-1.99, and 2+ inches. Forecasts are updated at approximately 0:55 each hour, and cover the succeeding 3-hour period.
NWS Warnings and Advisories. Links to NWS for additional severe weather information and alerts.
Storm tracking with User defined preferences with an easy to understand interface provides displaying real time lightning and detection of organized storm cells overlaid on regional maps. Real time lightning with alarm function for lightning activity coverage in user defined region/area. Thunderstorm Ranging and Data Acquistion (TRAC) reports assign an ID to individual storm cells and lists the Lat/Lon of the center, bearing, Distance and statistics on the type of strike (CLoud to Cloud, - + Cloud to ground), quantity (Number and percentage) of strikes in each cell.
Our Lightning data is also available on our affiliate's sites. Our lightning strike data is also sent to StrikeStarUS. StrikeStar is a public, large scale and community based lightning detection network configured as a client/server system, designed for the NexStorm software and Boltek hardware. StrikeStar allows multiple, standalone lightning detectors to form a real-time lightning locator network with greater positional accuracy.
Radar and Maps
Radar and specific maps relating to severe weather. Information about NexRad radar, coverage area, etc.
Please check the individual pages for additional information for the data and apps. If you have any questions that are not addressed or need immediate assistance with any of these, please check the Big Bend Weather Forums. Your questions may already be answered and if not, post your question in the appropriate forum and it will be answered ASAP. This will also help others that may have a similar question. To post in the forums, you must have a Username/Password and be currently logged in. If you haven't done so, Register for an account and start enjoying in all the interactive features on the site.
About our data - We acquire our data from our own sensors and from those affiliates we share our data including CWOP, MesoWest, APRS, NWS, Weatherunderground and the Strike Star network. We share our lightning data through the StrikeStar network and our lightning data is also shown on Weatherunderground. Additionally, our data is also used and displayed by Hamweather and Weather for You.