Houston Matters

Why Houston Needs More Weather Balloons

Maybe you made one in school science class — a weather balloon you were told would help predict the weather. These days, with Doppler radar and 3D weather screens on the nightly news, you’ve probably forgotten all about them. Funny thing though: weather forecasters haven’t. Their simple technology can help predict those massive storms — […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media

Maybe you made one in school science class — a weather balloon you were told would help predict the weather. These days, with Doppler radar and 3D weather screens on the nightly news, you've probably forgotten all about them.

Funny thing though: weather forecasters haven't. Their simple technology can help predict those massive storms — or help call off those massive storm warnings. And in a city like Houston that’s prone to floods, this could be vital information. But the closest weather balloon (or “soundings”) releases are in Lake Charles and Corpus Christi.

Eric Berger of Ars Technica says this is a big problem.

MORE: Houston, Unlike Most Other Major Cities, Doesn’t Regularly Launch Weather Balloons (Houston Press, May 5, 2016)

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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