Before Severe Weather Strikes, GOES-R is On Watch

Paralyzing snowfalls, torrential downpours, extreme temperatures, severe drought, destructive tornadoes and catastrophic hurricanes – all with the potential to wreak havoc on communities. That’s why it’s important to not just know what weather is coming our way, but to be weather ready.

Weather-Ready Nation is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) initiative to reduce weather impacts through improved readiness. Weather-Ready Nation focuses on being ready, responsive and resilient at personal, community and national levels through NOAA’s network of Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors.

“What good is a perfect weather forecast without knowing what to do?” asks Jamie Hawkins, Lockheed Martin’s Director of Civil Space and Environmental Programs. “We need to be ready to act in the face of inclement weather.”

Luckily, forecasting for major weather events is about to get a lot clearer with the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R), built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company for NOAA. GOES-R, the first of four satellites in the upgraded series, is scheduled to launch in October 2016.

Rain or Shine, GOES-R Has Eyes from the Sky

“Meteorologists need ground-based systems measuring local weather conditions, but they also need observations from high above Earth’s atmosphere and giving the ‘big picture,’" Jamie said. “Geostationary satellites, such as GOES, rotate with the Earth, maintaining a constant vigil over a specific location of the Earth’s surface. GOES-R will gather environmental intelligence around the clock.”

Carrying six instruments, GOES-R’s data will support short-term weather forecasts and severe storm watches and warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, drought outlooks and space weather predictions. Additionally, GOES-R products will improve hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, and increase thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time.