Wednesday, February 1, 2006
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has developed a new naming system for winter storms, but Routt County residents will haveto continue to rely on existing, descriptions for storms such asthe one passing over the area today.
On Monday, NOAA announced they would begin categorizing the strength of winter storms that hit the Northeastern part of the country. The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale won't be used to forecast storms, but rather to categorize their strengths based on a mathematical model.
The scale is similar to the Fujita scale, which ranks tornadoes based on the amount of destruction they cause, and Saffir-Simpson scale, which measures the strength of hurricanes.
Under the system, storms that affect the Northeast will be categorized as notable, significant, major, crippling or extreme.
NOAA officials said the scale will help them provide preliminary snowstorm assessments in a matter of days instead of weeks, allowing them to better assess the effects of major snowstorms.The scale is being applied to the North----east because of the severe eff-ects winter weather can have on transportation and the economy. The scale has not been adopted nationwide, but there are plans to expand it.
"I think there would be some people that would find it very useful," said Jim Pringle, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "I think that people like seeing storm events quantified. It gives them an idea of how powerful the storm was and the impact of the event."
Steamboat residents, however, will have to continue to rely on standard storm descriptions.
By Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service had issued a heavy snow warning for Steamboat Springs and the vicinity. As much as 1.5 feet of snow is expected within city limits by Friday morning. Higher totals are forecast for Steamboat Ski Area, which has received more than 300 inches of snow since November.
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