winter weather forecasts
Provifrost gets its own weatherman
Proviron has taken on its own weatherman. Geert Naessens will forecast the weather for Provifrost, our department that produces environmentally friendly, high-performance aircraft de-icers and de-icing products for runways and commercial applications.
Accurate planning of production and transportation
‘The key to a successful winter campaign is preparation,’ says David Carbonez, sales manager at our Provifrost department. ‘When Geert can tell us that there is a real chance of winter weather, we can respond and anticipate to it effectively.’ With accurate forecasts, we know what winter weather we can expect and how much time we have left to prepare for it.
‘We’re going to effectively align production planning with weather forecasts and in doing so, we will assume a worst-case scenario. This increases our clout when there is a sudden massive demand for de-icing products due to a cold wave.’
Security of supply
But it doesn’t stop at production. It has recently become increasingly difficult to arrange transportation on time. Whereas previously you could order transportation a day in advance, you now often have to do so several days in advance. Last-minute deliveries have therefore become almost unaffordable. Geert’s weather forecasts can help here too. ‘The earlier we know that a cold wave is coming, the better we can arrange transportation,’ David says.
Proviron wants to be the best possible service partner for its customers. This means, among other things, that for thirty years we have been supplying all our customers in a timely, flawless and correct manner. Security of supply is essential for us. ‘The cooperation with Geert will further strengthen the guarantees to which we are committed, namely that we will always use every means available to deliver the necessary products,’ says David. ‘More than ever and better than ever, we’re prepared for any possible scenario and we’re looking forward to winter full of confidence.’
All weather models mapped out
In order to do that, radio and television weather reports are not enough. ‘Those weather reports want to answer the questions of the general public. So they are often about the number of hours of sunshine, whether it will rain and when, the wind force, CO danger, and so on. The forecasts for the general public are also based on the weather models that have the most consensus,’ David continues. ‘They make them from other models, which are not discussed further.’
Geert bases his forecasts on almost all available weather models. ‘You always start by consulting the big main models and then you look at the regional models for the details. The reliability of the models depends on the situation. One model will be better at picking up on a trend or change than another,’ he says.
Customized weather forecasts
For Provifrost, Geert is going to make very regional weather forecasts for the regions in which our customers operate. ‘With a classic weather forecast, you have a number of parameters that are given for a very large area and a very large audience. As soon as you start differentiating for a region or a specific customer, you can work in a very targeted and tailored manner,’ he says. ‘Some elements are then more important or less important and you can create an expectation that takes very specific needs into account. A customized weather forecast zooms in on specific elements and is therefore usually more accurate.’
Provifrost adapts its stock policy based on the probability and severity of winter weather. When Geert forecasts severe weather with a fair degree of certainty, we will increase production both beforehand and during the cold wave,’ David says. ‘We will then effectively free up more people and resources in the expectation of more orders. We always do that proportionally to the weather forecast and to match supply and demand as best we can.’
‘The reliability of a weather forecast hinges on correct observations and their interpretation. It is also important to realize that the weather for the next three to five days is fairly predictable. However, the further you look into the future, the more the reliability of a weather report decreases,’ Geert notes. ‘Expectations for more than ten to fourteen days should always be taken with a grain of salt. In that time frame, it’s better to talk about a trend in the weather than an expectation.’
Who is Geert Naessens
Geert Naessens has had the weather bug all his life. What began with a thermometer and a rain gage quickly became a self-built weather hut in his parents’ garden. He later became an observer in the KMI network, installing dishes and antennas to receive weather maps and satellite photos.
Various media outlets picked up his forecasts. First, the local Vrije Brugse Radio Omroep, where Geert still provides daily weather reports to this day. This was followed by a series of radio stations from the province and finally Geert also ended up at VRT Radio 2 West Flanders, where he still does the daily weather talks, and the regional TV station Focus-WTV.