Severe Weather

Providing the critical weather information that helps you anticipate damage, optimize operations, enhance safety and safeguard critical infrastructure. 


Severe weather events can present unprecedented challenges and disruptions to your organization's operations and finances. CFAN's Severe Weather Tool is targeted at electric utilities, the insurance sector and aviation.

  • Utilities: anticipate and prevent interruptions to service caused by weather events

  • Insurance:  anticipate damage from insured property from wildfire, hail and wind

  • Aviation ground management: anticipate airport weather hazards to support managing delays and challenges to ground crews.

Severe Weather Tool Overview


CFAN’s Severe Weather tool is based on the ECMWF forecasting system and provides probabilistic severe weather forecasts 4 times per day out to 6 days. CFAN’s forecasts take advantage of the full time and space resolution of the ECMWF forecast products.


CFAN's extreme weather modules are targeted at:

  • Severe convective weather

  • Wildfire risk

  • Winter weather hazards


CFAN's severe weather indices are developed using a fuzzy logic algorithm that combines the ECMWF forecast inputs to produce a knowledge-based likelihood for severe weather outcomes.  The fuzzy logic approach uses data mining to mimic the logic of a weather forecaster in assessing the probability of severe weather.

CFAN’s forecasts of severe weather are presented via zoomable maps on an interactive, web-based dashboard:

  • Rapid display of the latest relevant forecast variables from ECMWF

  • Probabilistic forecast information is displayed via forecast quantiles

  • Display of CFAN’s severe weather indices

Severe convective weather drives electric power outages, losses to insured property and challenges to aviation ground management. 


CFAN's Severe Convective Weather module provides both deterministic and probabilistic forecasts of severe convective weather parameters

The Severe Convective Weather module includes ECMWF's forecasts of the following parameters:

  • Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE)

  • CAPE Shear

  • Convective inhibition energy (CIN)

  • K Index

  • Convective precipitation

  • Precipitation type

  • Wind speed and gusts

  • Lightning flash density


CFAN's Severe Convective Weather Index (SWI) integrates the ECMWF forecast parameters in a single index using the fuzzy logic approach.  The SWI is calibrated using severe weather reports compiled by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.


The snapshot below from the Severe Weather Tool Dashboard compares the forecast for CFAN's Severe Convective Weather Index (upper left), convective precipitation (upper right), ECMWF's CAPEShear Index (lower left) and ECMWF's K Index (lower right)

In addition to the Severe Convective Weather Index, CFAN is developing analogous indices for:

  • Large hail

  • Convective wind gusts

  • Ground lightning

  • Tornadoes


Fire weather risk

Until recently, wildfires were considered to be a secondary peril in the insurance industry.   The record-breaking 2018 California wildfires and the 2019 Australian bush fires have created new challenges for insurers. 

A Fire Weather Risk module is being developed for the Severe Weather Tool, analogous to the Severe Convective Weather module.


ECMWF provides the following forecast variables that are of direct relevance to predicting wildfire risk, which will be displayed on the Dashboard:

  • 2 m surface temperature

  • 2 m surface dewpoint temperature

  • 10 m winds and gusts

  • precipitation


CFAN's development and evaluation of the wildfire risk is initially targeted at the state of California. CFAN will use established fire danger indices that have been evaluated for California.


Objective:  use the framework of the severe weather tool to provide 6 day forecasts of fire weather threat, using ECMWF forecasts as a framework to calculate indices that have been evaluated for the U.S.:

  • Canadian Fire Weather Index.

  • Hot•Dry•Windy Index


CFAN’s innovation in forecasting wildfire risk is the conveyance of wildfire risk probability using ECMWF ensemble forecasts.



Demo account


CFAN offers access to a Demo Account for the Severe Convective Weather module that includes the recent severe weather outbreaks in 2020. To inquire about access to a Demo Account [link]

          CFAN, Climate Forecast Applications Network, LLC.

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