Company Background and Information
Skyview Weather has been serving clients across the United States since the late 70s. During this time, Skyview Weather has become known for its accurate forecasts, attention to detail, serving client needs, and striving for the most accurate forecasts and weather updates.
Timothy Tonge, President
Mr. Tonge has worked with Skyview Weather since 1994.
He graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Business in 1979, with additional class work in meteorology. Upon his joining Skyview Weather, he was mentored by Meteorologist Paul Potter and has subsequently taken additional meteorology and wildland fire classes. Mr. Tonge has forecasted on daily basis for over fifteen years, and provided operational support to a variety of clients during this time. Mr. Tonge’s affiliation with the Castle Rock Fire Department has given him many years of experience in wildland fire behavior, HAZMAT incidents, and other emergency situations where spot weather and accurate forecasts are critical. He has developed a program of weather support for not only fire departments but also city and county emergency management. Mr. Tonge is also active with the National Weather Service’s Skywarn Program and has been an instructor for spotters for almost twenty years.
Brad Simmons, Meteorologist
Brad Simmons received his B.S. in Meteorology locally from the Metropolitan State College of Denver and has been with Skyview Weather since the spring of 2005. Since his internship at KRDO TV in Colorado Springs, Brad has proven to be a very competent forecaster. Living here in Colorado for many years he is very comfortable with the ever changing weather here in the state and enjoys the challenge of forecasting in Colorado. Since joining Skyview Weather Brad has gained extensive experience in forecasting day-to-day weather, flash flooding, severe weather, winter weather, as well as air pollution and site-specific forecasting.
Alan Smith, Meteorologist
Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and has been working with Skyview Weather since 2013. A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Alan also holds a B.S. in Management from Clemson University, and has lived out west in both Wyoming and Colorado since 2008. While in school at MSU Denver, Alan participated in an extensive research project with Dr. Richard Wagner, evaluating avalanche weather and climatology across Colorado’s mountain ranges, and also has completed his Level 1 Avalanche Certification. Upon joining the Skyview team, Alan quickly gained experience in flash flood forecasting, getting his feet wet during the historic flooding event of September 2013. Alan has also gained extensive experience forecasting thunderstorms, severe weather, and winter weather in Colorado and beyond. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating. Mr. Tonge, Mr. Simmons, and Mr Smith have over 40 years of combined weather forecast experience. Tap into Skyview Weather’s experience for reliable and accurate weather information.
What is a Private Weather Forecast Service and what exactly do we do?
In the simplest of terms, a private weather forecast service provides highly localized weather information and services to individual clients on a fee basis. The National Weather Service is a government agency that gathers weather data and provides mostly general forecasts to the public at large. The National Weather Services derives its funding from our taxes. The private service, on the other hand, charges fees for the more specialized services it provides.
Skyview Weather provides a tailored forecast with clients in mind. For example, a forecast from the NWS for a 30% chance of showers may be OK for the public, but a large water park with hundreds of people in the water needs more detailed information. Our service provides specific and precise storm location, direction, and lightning strike information.
A snow removal company may understand from the radio that there is a chance for overnight snow, but the general forecast stops there. Alternatively, our service answers the following questions: What time will it begin snowing? Where will it accumulate? Will one area of the city receive more snow than another? Many companies and even city and county agencies need a higher level of accuracy and service than can be provided by radio, TV, the Internet or the National Weather Service. Skyview Weather fills this need.
How does the National Weather Service Work?
Most peoples’ first contact with a weather forecast is usually hearing it on the radio or seeing it on TV. The forecast is presented, for example, as sunny and warm with a high of 80 degrees, or cold and cloudy with heavy snow. Now what actually did it take to put that forecast together?
Let’s start at the beginning. The National Weather Service gathers weather information from around the world, using weather balloons that sample the column of air above launch points and radios the information back. Ocean buoys gather both weather and ocean information. Weather satellites not only take pictures, but also sample the atmosphere for temperatures and winds. These satellites can also gather information on sea surface temperatures. Radar gathers information on rain and snow events and gives estimates as to how much rain or snow is falling. Not only that, but the new Doppler radars are so sensitive that they can give us wind and wind direction by detecting dust particles or even insects in the wind flow itself. A National Lightning Detection Network provides accurate locations of lightning strikes across the entire country.
All this information is then fed into a super computer that uses a complex set of equations to forecast the weather one or more days ahead. These equations can be changed to give a slightly different forecast, depending on which equation or combination of equations that the super computer uses. These forecasts, in either text or map form, are now distributed to not only the public at large, but to radio and TV, private weather companies, government agencies and large companies that have weather concerns.
Now, as anybody can tell you, even with all this technology the forecasts are not always right!
Why Are National Weather Service Forecasts Sometimes Wrong?
There are a couple of reasons. With all the fancy gadgets we use to forecast weather, there are still plenty of holes in the data. For example, samples taken over the Pacific Ocean are scarce and there are many countries in the world that do not share weather information for their areas. Realize that the weather is truly a global phenomenon and any gaps in the information do make it hard to accurately forecast the weather. Add to that the equations that are used to forecast the weather are far from perfect. One set of equations can give you 20 degrees and snow at a particular location, while a different set will give you sunny and 70 degrees.
This is where the human element comes into the forecast picture. The National Weather Service meteorologists take all this information and generate national and local forecasts for the public at large. These forecasts tend to be more general in nature due to the large number of people using this information. The forecast may state that there is a 30% chance of rain that day though little more. The National Weather Service will not call your office, tell you that the rain will arrive within the hour and be finished by mid afternoon. The National Weather Service is also responsible for all watches and warnings that are issued, but again, will not call you and state what the actual threat to your location is.
Most radio and TV outlets use weathercasters to read or present the weather. In other words, most of these weathercasters are not meteorologists and only present the National Weather Services forecasts to the listening public. Yes some stations do use meteorologists but even these forecasters rarely deviate from the National Weather Services general forecasts.
Since we are in the Internet age now, this is another avenue where many people can find forecast and weather information. There are a variety of weather sites where you can see the forecast for your area, look at Doppler radar and see satellite pictures. Again most of this information is general in nature because of large numbers of people using it. Yes, radar is now available, and you can see radar returns. However, is the precipitation actually hitting the ground, is the storm strengthening, is there hail in the storm, all are questions you may not be able to answer on your own. And be careful with the images you view, information on the Internet can be tens of minutes or even hours old. During severe events the Internet can become so clogged that you will not even be able to get the information at all! While the Internet is good for general weather situations, during times you really need the information you may not be able to get it! There are numerous weather events that require someone to watch the changes constantly! Do you want to dedicate a person from your staff to do this? Most companies don’t have that luxury.
So how does Skyview Weather fit in all of this?
Using the same information that the National Weather Service uses, Skyview Weather tailors a forecast with the specific needs of each client in mind, filling in any gaps that the NWS forecasts leaves out. Instead of a general forecast that goes out to the public at large, we focus on the concerns and needs of the person or company that has contracted us to do their forecasting.
Are you worried about lightning threats, flooding, forest fires, snow removal, hail damage or strong winds? Skyview Weather will provide a forecast with your needs in mind. Not only will we provide you with a detailed forecast, but also we will constantly monitor the weather for changes and inform you when and where to expect those changes. If there is lightning ten miles from your site, a private service will call you with that information. Snow has become heavy and you need to go out and plow at three in the morning! You will get a call to let you know! Try getting that from your local TV forecaster. The key to a private forecast service is just that — service to you, the client.
Although we use the same weather information as the National Weather Service, many times the private service will come up with a completely different forecast than the public airwaves. This is where the experience of the meteorologist comes in. Sometimes it takes years to become familiar with how the weather affects each individual location. Snow in one area does not necessarily mean snow in a location just 20 miles away and vise versa. As meteorologists, we know what heavy thunderstorms can do as they roll through an area, with lightning, damaging winds, hail and even tornadoes all possible. With the latest in weather equipment we can pinpoint your location and know exactly when your field or activity is at risk. We use this knowledge to provide a more accurate and detailed forecast that doesn’t always match the forecast being broadcast to the public at large.
Skyview Weather’s services are not for everyone, but if your business depends on accurate and timely weather information a private forecast service just might be what you need!