Tracking Weather: A look behind the scenes of how our meteorologists predict the weather

(KNOE 8 WEATHER) - Severe weather can strike at any time and keeping you and your family safe is our number one priority. With improvements in technology, forecasting has become more accurate. But how does our weather team predict the weather? Let us start at the beginning!

It all starts at the National Weather Service offices in Shreveport and Jackson. Every day, twice a day, they launch weather balloons that will tell us the current state of the atmosphere.

"We launch weather balloons twice a day from our office and that will sample the earth from the surface all the way up to roughly a hundred thousand feet or so in the atmosphere," said Joanne Culin, a meteorologist.

The balloon will carry a device called a radiosonde, which is a small lightweight device, that will gather critical information about our atmosphere. Ed Tarver is in charge of the launch.

"This is what measures the temperature, air pressure, all that is located inside the instrument," Tarver said.

They let the balloons go at 6 AM and 6 PM. Immediately after liftoff, the balloon starts transmitting the data into a computer. The computer takes the current conditions of the atmosphere and using mathematical equations, it predicts what the future will be.

Our weather team then analyzes the information. The data comes to us in the form of "forecast models." As meteorologists, we need to interpret the predictions the model is giving us because it's not always accurate. Just like any kind of experiment, errors can and will occur. For example, the radiosonde can misread the temperature, or pressure, which in the short term won't affect our predictions. But over a longer period, the errors grow larger. Therefore, we need to use our experience and knowledge of the atmosphere to ask the question "Is this a realistic prediction?"

Our weather team usually spends the first part of our shift making the forecast, and then we go ahead and make the computer weather graphics which you see on TV. We tell the weather story in a way that is clear and easy for you to understand.

After the graphics are made, we head over to a blank green screen to deliver the forecast. Why a green screen? It's actually called a chromakey. Essentially, we program our cameras to take the color green, so wherever the camera sees the color green, it'll key it out to show our weather maps!

That is a look at what we do on a day to day basis, remember, when we aren't on air you can always get up to date weather information by downloading our mobile app by searching KNOE 8 Weather in the app store.