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Longest running weather podcast in the universe. Eleven years in production, James Spann and a group of private sector and NWS meteorologists gather around the digital mahogany table to talk about their favorite subject, with some great guests.

Jul 9, 2013

Guest WeatherBrain for this episode is John Mecikalski from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Using a tool developed at UAH, meteorologists in the continental U.S. now can get an advance warning of pop-up spring and summer storms before they pop up on radar. Using data from weather satellites, the UAH program can predict which puffy clouds are most likely to produce rain and lightning in the next 30 minutes to two hours.

While the National Weather Service's Doppler radar network provides reliable data on the location and intensity of rain once it starts falling, models used to forecast when and where convective storms might start producing rain have are not been very accurate in forecasting either the exact locations or the timing of thunderstorms. The SATCAST (Satellite Convection Analysis and Tracking system) uses data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES weather satellites to monitor cumulus clouds as they develop, move and grow before they become thunderstorms.

During the system's 10-year development, UAHuntsville scientists learned that important factors in predicting thunderstorm formation are temperature change in cloud tops, how strong the updraft is within the cloud, and determining when water vapor in the tops of cumulus clouds turns to ice. These can be monitored using multiple satellite sensor channels.

Also joining us this evening as Guest Panelist is LeAnn Lombardo, meteorologist with WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, WI. LeAnn Lombardo joined the WQOW News 18 Forecast team in March of 2006. A native of western Wisconsin, LeAnn was interested in weather from a very early age and recalls watching the weather from the back barn door of her large Clear Lake dairy farm. LeAnn completed her schooling at Mississippi State University and began her career at KAAL in Austin, MN. She has also been granted the AMS (American Meteorology Society) seal of approval and is a member of the National Weather Association.

After spending 5.5 years on the WQOW Daybreak desk, LeAnn decided to scale back her hours to spend more time with her family. You can now catch her every Sunday night at 10 p.m. and occasionally filling in when needed.

During her free time, LeAnn enjoys all the great Wisconsin Friday night fish fries, working out, playing volleyball and spending time with family and friends.