Meteorologist Expertise, Client Relationships, and Data Synthesis: How AccuWeather Meteorologists Save Lives and Protect Property in Data-sparse Regions (261)

Thomas Bedard, AccuWeather, Wichita, KS

Becky DePodwin, AccuWeather



On July 19, 2013, a series of moisture-rich thunderstorms moved over Ferromex rail track in north central Mexico, causing flash flooding across this extremely data-sparse region. Flash flooding washed out a segment of railroad track that was 45 feet deep and 200 feet long and would have derailed a train in an instant. Catastrophe was averted due to the work of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions (AES) Certified Storm Warning Meteorologists. Fortunately, that segment of track had been under a Flash Flood Warning issued by AES Meteorologists, and the railroad company was able to pull the track from service until it could be repaired, ensuring no train crossed the track and no lives were put in harm's way. The success of this warning, in a data-sparse region, is credited to the training and expertise of AES meteorologists, as well as the development of client relationships and unique data analysis techniques. Each warning is specifically tailored to client thresholds. The flash flood event of July 19, 2013 will be discussed, including data synthesis techniques, geographical and terrain familiarity, pattern recognition, and how AES meteorologists utilize this information to determine what type of warning to issue and when.