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Researchers Use Emerging Technologies to Probe Winter Storm; Goal to Improve Forecasting

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Media Advisory for Saturday, January 29 from 6:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

Locations: Smith Point, NY, and Stony Brook University Campus

Contact: Greg Filiano at 631-338-7644 or


Stony Brook scientists travel into the eye of this weekend’s snowstorm, using new radars from mobile units, weather balloons, and a NASA aircraft

Nor-easter snowfall forecasts are often challenging to predict accurately, and this weekend’s storm is no exception. Much of this challenge results from predicting the location and intensity of narrow snow bands, which can quickly drop several inches of snow.

Researchers from Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) will head into the thick of the storm Friday overnight through Saturday at Smith Point County Park along the ocean in Shirley, NY, to use emerging technologies that may be the future of forecasting dangerous nor-easter snowstorms. Another team will be at the Stony Brook University campus.

The team is part of a NASA-led group of investigators who will track this weekend’s snowfall across the Northeast, from New Jersey and Long Island up into New England – under the IMPACTS program – The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast – Threatening Snowstorms.

The expectation is to create a unique dataset on snowstorm clouds, the atmosphere and movement of the storm, to help improve major snowstorm forecasts in the future.

They will work in concert with a NASA aircraft flying through the storm collecting data on the storm and atmospheric conditions. Stony Brook researchers will use a mobile truck at Smith Point, scanning the snowstorm with new radar technologies and launching weather balloons. Simultaneously, researchers and students at Stony Brook University will track the storm with weather balloons and other radar systems.

Other universities involved in the project will be collecting radar data on Cape Cod (U. Oklahoma), and launching additional weather balloons (Univ. Illinois and Millersville).

Leading the Stony Brook team are SoMAS Professors Brian Colle at the SBU campus, and Pavlos Kollias at Smith Point.

Both are available for interviews, and media are welcome to come to either location, during the early morning hours to about 12:00 noon on Saturday, January 29.

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