Residents of the northeast coast of the United States often receive little warning when a heavy snowstorm is headed their way. In an effort to improve prediction of the winter storms that develop rapidly just off the Carolina coasts, about 200 scientists, engineers, and technicians from 25 U.S. research groups are collaborating on a $10 million, 2-month research project called the Genesis of Atlantic Lows Experiment (GALE).

The project, which began January 15, 1985, will concentrate high-technology observing systems in a relatively small area. Researchers hope that having a more detailed description of air flow, mass, and moisture fields in East Coast winter storms will improve the short-range forecasting of coastal storms and foster the development of more refined computer models to predict the storms. GALE will allow them to look at how the Appalachian Mountains, the coastal landscape, and the Atlantic Ocean (specifically, the Gulf Stream) contribute to the formation of winter storms, according to an announcement by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.