New system can provide highly accurate 30-minute rain forecasts that update in real-time.

The year 2015 seems like a distant memory at this point, but it was the year that Back to the Future II promised us hoverboards and flying cars. While a lot of that didn’t come to pass, I’m happy to say we are one big step closer to the kick-ass weather forecasting the film depicted.

From 25 August to 5 September, a group of Japanese research centers and universities including RIKEN, the University of Tsukuba, and University of Tokyo will be testing a new weather forecasting system with unprecedented speed and accuracy.

Using the latest weather radar technology and university supercomputers, they can give an accurate layout of cloud coverage and rainfall in an area both currently and up to 30 minutes into the future. This is particularly useful to avoid what’re known as “guerrilla rainstorms” in Japan.

Guerrilla rainstorms are similar to cloudbursts, which are brief periods of very intense and very localized rainfall. However, guerrilla rainstorms are especially sudden compared to cloudbursts, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. This makes them very hard to predict, hence the name.

▼ Guerrilla rain ambushing a crowd in Shibuya. The opening seconds have a real Godzilla vibe.

Guerrilla rainstorms are especially common during the hot summer months and are not something you want to get caught in unaware on the street. However, with this new system, we can get a heads-up at least 30 seconds in advance of a guerrilla rainstorm dumping an obscene amount of water on our exact pinpointed location because 30 seconds is how quickly the forecast updates itself.

To give you a sense of how improved this system is, Takemasa Miyoshi of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science told Ameba News that the new system “updates every 30 seconds. Compared with the Japan Meteorological Agency that updates forecasts every one hour, we update ours 120 times in the same period, which is an order of magnitude better. It can capture clouds that develop in a matter of minutes.”

▼ The full Ameba News report

And now you can too, if you’re in Tokyo. This test is currently being conducted live on the currently existing app 3D Agumo Weather. During the test period, data from this new system will be broadcast through the app for the Tokyo Metropolitan Area only.

▼ The colors in the cloud represent the amount of rain that section is producing

So, be sure to check it out if you’re in the area and see how it matches up to what Doc Brown would have used. You might even want to use it to take advantage of the cool down these freak storms can provide during these disgustingly hot days.

Source: 3D Agumo Weather, Abema Times
Top image: Pakutaso
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