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Sunny Skies For Forecasters

You'd think the National Weather Service would predict the perfect day for its own outdoors news conference, but as CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones reports, there were a lot of sweaty suits in attendance when they unveiled a new computer system in 90 degree-plus temperatures Wednesday.

The new high-tech weather computer system takes in information from satellites, radar, and ground tracking, then figures out what it all means and sends it to computer stations at 152 weather forecast offices. One of the benefits of the new equipment will be more warning time.

"Fifteen years ago we didn't actually forecast tornadoes, we told you when the tornado was on the ground," explains Jack Kelly, Jr., director of the National Weather Service. "Now 12 minutes in advance we tell you, so I'll call that the revolution."

While the forecast for the National Weather Service itself has never been better, it's still pretty bleak for the rest of America - more drought, more heat and more hurricanes.

Dr. James Baker, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says two things are different this year. "We're seeing longer stretches of very hot days," he explains. "We're also seeing warmer nighttime temperatures."

Last year, the nation was hit by 10 big storms, and Baker forecasts a greater number of even bigger storms this year.

"We're forecasting more than average, and you start looking for it at the beginning of August," he says. As for the heat that threw the country - and the new computer system's debut - into a sweat Wednesday, he says, "I think you'll see more of the same, but with relief toward the end of August."