"As Hurricane Harvey roared toward the Texas coast in late August, weather models showed something that forecasters had never seen before: predictions of four feet of rainfall in the Houston area over five days—a year’s worth of rain in less than a week.
“I’ve been doing this stuff for almost 50 years,” says Bill Read, a former director of the National Hurricane Center who lives in Houston. “The rainfall amounts … I didn’t believe ‘em. 50-inch-plus rains—I’ve never seen a model forecast like that anywhere close to accurate.
“Lo and behold, we had it.”
That unbelievable-but-accurate rain forecast is just one example of the great leap forward in storm forecasting made possible by major improvements in instruments, satellite data, and computer models. These advancements are happening exactly when we need them to—as a warmer, wetter atmosphere produces more supercharged storms, intense droughts, massive wildfires, and widespread flooding, threatening lives and property."