for Extended Range Forecasting
The following is a
detailed discussion of the different types of product areas that
we cover. The testimonials that are given are directly from the
clients. The intent was not to solicit "rah-rah" comments
for ERF, but to let you know how others use our service and what
they look for in our forecasts. We cover a number of different
client areas, and I think you will find some of the discussion
unique and informative.
Nursery and Landscaping
Site-specific weather forecasting helps tree fruit growers with
pruning, spray programs, frost control, and pest-disease and
irrigation management. During harvest, rain can slow the process,
so it helps to know the potential for rain and blustery winds.
Row crops are greatly impacted by wet-warm weather due to increased
pest and disease infection periods, but also the ability for
the crops to rot in the field if exposed to prolonged periods
of high humidity or water. Hot weather also plays a major role
in stressing plants and produce. Winds as well as severe thunderstorms
and hail can also impact corn or other standing crops.
A standing view in the grain industry is that they plant it,
watch it grow, and then harvest the crop. However, some growers
like to keep tabs on heat units, monsoon-type weather patterns,
and prolonged dry spells. Most of our grain growers are more
interested in the longer term, 30-90 day trends than the shorter
term forecast, except during planting or harvest periods. We
work with a number of grain related growers around the region.
Most are very progressive and innovative.
The timber industry is greatly influenced and affected by weather
and long-term weather trends. My timber industry clients use
my weather information for a number of reasons: spray programs,
reforesting, weed and pest control, seedling operations, harvest
and road work, storm mitigation, long-term trends, safety issues
for crews, trucking, mill operations, irrigation management,
and slash burning and smoke management. There are so many different
facets to the timber industry I am sure that I have left some
Field preparation to crop management to blight control to harvest
are concerns of potato growers. It seems that many of our growers
are watching potato development through most of the year. The
frost season is a critical period well into the summer in some
regions like the Klamath Basin in Oregon. Growers use our forecasts
during the harvest period due to increased wetness and muddy
and Grass Seed
The need for longer term forecasts helps hay growers pick and
choose periods for hay harvest. This is a very difficult forecast
as most growers are now "demanding" a 7-15 day window,
which in some years is nearly impossible to accommodate. However,
most are willing to accept that in some years it is difficult
to get those 10-20 day dry spells due to monsoon-type flows coming
up from the Southwest desert. However, other years we can help
our growers immensely with planning decisions.
Mint and rye grass
growers are also faced with similar problems. When it is time
to harvest, growers often cant wait and have to go ahead
and hope for the best. We help them by forecasting the best window
of opportunity for harvest. Since wet cycles vary, some years
are better than others. Hopefully, each grower has some flexibility
and we can use our service to determine their best options.
Frost and Arctic blasts can really have an impact on the berry
industry so growers begin to worry during the middle of the winter,
watching the "Alberta Clipper" or "Arctic Express,"
to see how close they will come to getting blasted. Spring frosts
as well as spring and early summer rains during strawberry harvest
are also of prime importance. It seems that our berry growers
are finally out of the woods around August but are concerned
again by early fall due to frost potential. Then they ask the
question, "Do we hang the berry vines or wait to see how
the coming winter will develop?"
Certainly early and late season frosts are major concerns for
my nursery growers around the region. But due to the relatively
mild climate of the region, growing crops outside year-round
is possible in some areas. Of course, frost protection is never
far from hand, and the fear of the old Alberta Clipper is never
far from the minds of any of my clients. Pest and disease issues
are also important, while irrigation management concerns can
also be answered from my daily forecasts.
Nursery growers are
diverse and individual what works for one does not work
for the other, even if they grow the same crops. Some growers
are more concerned about hot weather trends while others worry
only about fall, winter, and spring frosts. The nursery industry
has been a very wonderful group to work with/for over the years.
This is one of my favorites because I like to drink the end product.
The grape industry has a number of needs during the year, some
of which they have little control, others they can control easily.
Frosts, pest, and disease issues, or rain during harvest are
just a few that are of prime concern. Also, prolonged dry spells
can cause heat stress. Hardiness can be a huge issue in the winter.
A sudden cold spell during a mild winter can wreak havoc with
the industry. Frost control measures are now becoming a bigger
issue, even in areas that typically do not get late season frosts.
Crops are now much more valuable than ever before!
These people are a unique group of growers and harvesters who
watch near-shore sea conditions very closely. This group has
interests from British Columbia all the way to the Baja Peninsula
so storm development during their harvest periods can be a huge
issue for them. This is certainly true for fall through spring
harvest periods. Sea state and swell development are of prime
interest due to safety and scheduling concerns.
This is a specialized "berry" group, but since this
industry is so closely related to "coastal" areas they
have a niche all to themselves. Frost control, winds, and heavy
rains, plus the early onset of the fall storm pattern can play
an important role in planning for this group. Long-term drying
can also have a profound impact on growers due to lack of fresh
water during harvest. Heat is also important to this industry
lack thereof or too much!
This is a very unique group which could fall under the nursery
group, but since they have some interesting facets to their group,
I thought a separate header was needed. Frost and heavy rainfall
are two of the biggest problems for this group, but also flood
issues can come into play in selected areas of the Northwest.
Floral development in the spring, plus marketing schedules and
special weekend sales events in the spring can greatly influence
sales and staffing. A rainy weekend can spell doom, but a sunny,
warm weekend in the Willamette Valley or Skagit Valley can bring
multitudes of folks out to buy flowers and bulbs or look at the
wonderful fields full of color!
and Ground Maintenance
The rapid growth in residential and commercial lands has allowed
this group to grow markedly. Staffing, planning, and actual work
schedules are of concern, but also frost and snow/ice removal
issues are of prime concern. Most landscaping companies are not
impacted by summer weather, however, heat stress can impact irrigation
planning and scheduling. Also, water rationing issues can be
a huge factor for this industry and the nursery industry, so
the term "drought" sends a shiver through the backs
of landscapers and nursery growers alike!
and Arial Spray Applicators
Wind and rain are the most important issues here, but heat and
cold can come into play, too. The development of our weather
station network will allow spraying crews to see what is happening
in a given area before they get there, hopefully saving time
The need for specific and detailed forecasts has been discussed
previously, but this group benefits the most from these forecasts.
Overtime costs during severe winter weather events can eat up
a budget in a hurry. If I can help to save an hour or two weekly,
they can more than pay for the cost of my service for many years
to come. Nearly every transportation group that I work with can
cite savings over the years.
Knowing a bit more
about weather trends, short and long term, can help managers
plan more effectively. The daily weather forecasts can also help
environment bureaus, parks and recreation departments, forestry
departments, water bureaus and waste water management teams.
Police, fire, and emergency services are also greatly aided by
short-term planning forecasts during winter emergencies. We also
work with risk management teams that deal with legal issues after
a weather event. Weather plays a huge role in municipal planning.
I started working with school districts back in 1978 helping
them deal with school bus issues during snow and ice events.
This area has now evolved into a full-time program similar to
the one used by cities and counties. No longer is the transportation
director the only one needing the forecasts and detailed information.
Sports directors, facility maintenance directors, and even superintendents
are all very interested in the short-term and long-term forecasts.
Legal issues also affect school districts and historical background
can help with reviewing accidents that are weather related.
Route forecasting and planning are crucial to the trucking industry,
which can be slowed by severe weather events: ice, snow, high
winds, floods, mud slides, etc. Proper forecasting and hands-on
discussions can help the trucking industry cope with major winter-time
events. Summer heat can also be a factor for timing the arrival
of trucks, but this issue is a minor inconvenience. Real-time
mapping and weather data along specific routes can be very helpful
and we are developing real-time mapping as part of our InfoNet
This industry is affected similarly to the three groups mentioned
above, but they have their own uniqueness. Light rain and bus
lines must have detailed long-term forecasts of 6-10 hours due
to the length of time it takes to get the chains and de-icing
equipment rolling. Planning and staffing are huge issues due
to the large number of folks impacted during snow, ice, wind,
and heavy rainfall events. Routing issues also come up during
mud slides and flooding.
Course Management and Maintenance
The golf links industry has been fun to be part of. From weekend
staff planning to major golf tournament forecasting, the golf
industry has some real needs. Special events planning; weddings,
meetings, and certainly the club championship are all very important.
From the maintenance side, greens protection is paramount. We
also watch for Arctic outbreak in the winter and too much water.
Flood damage in 1996 was incredible, even for courses that dont
normally flood! Pest and disease issues also arise, but irrigation
management and control seems to be even bigger. Staffing for
most of these involves long- term planning, so working directly
with owners, managers, and even foremen is a hands-on program.
and Motel, Bed & Breakfast
Proprietors of lodging establishments rely on our service for
the safety of their guests and workers. They like to know what
the weather has in store for them to plan staffing needs, have
necessary equipment on hand for snow or ice or flooding, and
plan for outdoor guest services. An ERF weather report is also
nice to have on hand for guests to plan their own activities.
Ski resorts and other winter recreation businesses benefit from
our weather reports to plan for snow removal and staffing needs.
They also benefit from our summer forecasts for summer maintenance
needs like construction, clearing trails, and fire prevention.
The availability of power during severe weather events is prime
to many power users, whether municipal, industry or individual.
Planning is of prime concern here as interruptible power can
be an issue. Hourly, daily, and annual loads can be affected
by severe or unusual weather.
Too much hydro can really send the market for energy into a tail
spin. Too warm and too cold can also affect loads, so power producers
and suppliers are always planning ahead. Market trends and usage
can be huge factors, so the planning by producers can be difficult,
but weather is the driving force. Hydro planning and regulating
hydro projects are also of prime importance. This can be difficult
if hydro is surplus or deficit. So, long-term planning is a huge
issue and help.
How you get the energy to your customer can be a huge problem
during snow, ice, and wind events. Advanced notice can help crews
prepare for such events; the longer the prep time the better
off utility crews will be, and the better the customers will
be. However, some events can overwhelm even the most prepared!
Line crews can only do so much during a "silver-thaw,"
but by knowing the extent and coverage, crews can let customers
know that they will be helped as soon as the event is over.
This group is impacted by long-term weather trends but certainly
short-term events can trigger some huge needs. Forecasts that
are made hourly, monthly, 180 days, or 10 years, can be helpful
to planners and power brokers.
and Building Maintenance
General contractors benefit from ERF forecasts with the ability
to plan around the weather when scheduling subcontractors. It
can also help them prepare for working in bad weather so they
can have backup power ready or additional lighting available.
Rain, frost, and freezing temperatures are a concern for paving
and concrete workers. Extreme heat can also alter the workflow.
Knowing what the weather has in store for paving and concrete
work helps in planning staffing and scheduling the work.
Rain, humidity, hot weather, and other extremes are concerns
for painters. Again, knowing what the weather has in store helps
in determining how to schedule the work and what size crew to
have on hand. In the long run it saves time and money.
Not having a roof over your head when the big storm comes is
poor planning. ERF long-range forecasts let you know when the
"window of opportunity" exists to do this type of work.
Construction and Excavation
This kind of work often takes months to complete, and knowing
what the weather has in store for them can help in planning when
to schedule work like earth moving when its dry,
high-rise work when its not windy, or indoor work when its
pouring rain outside.
Maintenance and Management
The need to help building maintenance managers decide how to
staff for severe weather events is similar to city and county
managers, but it might even be more important if the workers
cannot even get out of their apartments, condos, or homes
how can they get to work? Building management and maintenance
teams are just as concerned about snow and ice removal, wind
storms, and other events as those with cities and counties. Heating
and cooling issues, painting, and remodeling are also issues
to deal with by property managers, too. Safety might be the biggest
concerns, but other factors also come into play.
and Weather Event Reconstruction
The need to verify weather events at the time of an accident
or criminal event can be very important in a legal case. Legal
expert testimony involves reconstructing weather at the time
of the event to prove what actually happened. This does not involve
forecasting at all, but locating all of the weather records and
data important to the case. EWIN data can and does fill the void
of the database provided by the National Weather Services
climatic data center and others. ERF has access to over 1,100
weather collection sites regionally a very extensive database!
This is similar to expert testimony, but most of the work is
done for insurance companies to verify claims of unusual weather.
This can be quick or might take time depending on the location
of the loss and the complexity of the weather pattern. Fraud
is a huge expense for the insurance industry; hopefully, our
review can minimize weather-related fraud.
North Lotus Isle Drive
Portland, OR 97217
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