Smithsonian: As Hurricane Sandy hits the East Coast of the US, Randy Rieland blogs about the vastly improved weather forecasting that has allowed residents to better anticipate the coming storm and prepare for it. He credits modern supercomputers for the dramatic improvement. More data are being gathered by satellites and other equipment on such factors as temperature, barometric pressure, and wind. And that data are being analyzed on many atmospheric levels, starting at Earth’s surface and continuing up to the stratosphere. Modern supercomputers—such as Yellowstone, which just went online a few weeks ago in Wyoming—are able to process all that data much more quickly than ever before, and they can significantly narrow their focus to smaller geographical areas. Nevertheless, “one of the things that make weather scientists better predictors than their counterparts in other fields is their recognition that neither they nor their numbers are perfect,” writes Rieland. Weather systems are extremely dynamic, so what path Hurricane Sandy will ultimately follow remains to be seen.