As the severity, intensity and frequency of climate disasters increase, preparation becomes more important than ever to protect lives, infrastructure, businesses and local economies. A high-tech forecasting company is now springing up, providing hyper-detailed weather forecasts and storm strategy plans, right down to a city block.
Boston-based Tomorrow.io already has customers such as Delta, Ford, JetBlue, Meta, Raytheon, Uber, United Airlines and the US Air Force. Rainfall, snowfall, fire hazard and air quality forecasting are all part of the company’s capabilities.
When the remnants of Hurricane Ida invaded New Jersey nearly a year ago, the state was hopelessly unprepared. It was no longer a hurricane, so preparation was minimal, but the deluge was unbelievable.
“During Ida, it rained four inches in one hour and we had a total of six and a half inches of rain, in one storm event, which is really unprecedented,” said Caleb Stratton, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Hoboken, New York. Jersey.
Just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Hoboken is only two square miles but home to more than 62,000 people. It is increasingly prone to flooding, so the city had have built protection in the form of parks that act as huge drains.
One of the parks sits atop a massive cistern that can hold 200,000 gallons of water and is managed remotely so that water can be retained or released when needed.
But to optimize the system, city officials need to know what’s going to happen. So just after Ida, they started working with Tomorrow.io.
“They can provide insight into when a storm event will happen — at what intensity, for how long — and they can really make block-by-block predictions,” Stratton said.
The company works with its customers well before they start forecasting to specifically show them how future weather will affect everything from operations to supply chains to staffing levels.
“We take an airline’s operational protocol, upload it specifically into our system, and then we have our own dashboard of insights that tells them exactly when it’s going to happen,” said chief marketing officer Dan Slagen. “So we’ll tell an airline during the week that these flights are at risk from weather conditions, and if you need to de-ice your planes, now is the time to do that, to avoid delays or other safety impacts.”
The company then sends its own satellites into space, which send back data much more often than government weather satellites.