ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Ameren Missouri has had great accuracy with its forecasts on recent storm systems. How do they do it? The company relies on a network of 100 weather observation stations across its service region.
The stations feed data back to St. Louis University’s Quantum Weather program, a partnership between the university and the utility company. Graduate and undergraduate students in SLU's meteorology program feed the data into a series of equations, tailored specifically for Ameren Missouri and its 2.1 million customers, to generate very specific forecasts to guide Ameren Missouri’s response teams, to help restore power more quickly and efficiently.
The SLU team has called for high winds and possible tornadoes Monday evening and overnight after coming up with its forecast of the January ice storm.
“It was a very ‘spot on’ forecast. It was couple of days in advance,” said Jim Huss, Ameren Missouri. “We were able to roll some material trailers to the areas they helped us zero in on. We hit right on the money with that.”
“Ameren Missouri is worried about the wind threat. They’re also worried about freezing rain,” said Dr. Bob Pasken, associate professor of meteorology at St. Louis University. “So we’ve tuned our local models so that is solves Ameren Missouri’s problems.”
“It’s going to be an isolated thunderstorm along the line. That isolated thunderstorm is going to generate for us a tornado. It won’t be a long-lived one, a long lasting one. It’ll pop up, show up on the ground, move along for a couple hundred yards and maybe half a mile.”