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Va.-Based Nat’l Weather Service Supercomputer To Improve Forecasts

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In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy churns off the coast of Florida on Oct. 26, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. (credit: NOAA via Getty Images)

In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy churns off the coast of Florida on Oct. 26, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. (credit: NOAA via Getty Images)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Reston, Virginia is now home to a National Weather Service computer that can make 213 trillion calculations per second, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says will improve forecasts.

“The scientific data and insights that these newly upgraded supercomputers will provide are essential to help government officials, communities, and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and water events,” according to a NOAA news release.

The supercomputer in Reston is nicknamed “Tide.” Its Orlando backup is called “Gyre.” They are twice as fast as last year’s version of the model and have displayed up to a 15 percent improvement in forecasts.

“Given recent events like the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma or Superstorm Sandy, federal weather resources and personnel should be considered vital national assets,” said J. Marshall Shepherd Ph.D., president of the American Meteorological Society and Professor at the University of Georgia.

The NOAA is headquartered in Silver Spring, Md.

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