One of the more remarkable electronic machines of the Year 2000 is one that will predict the weather with an accuracy unattainable before 1980. It is a combination of calculating machine and forecaster.
The calculator solves thousands of separate equations in a minute; the automatic forecaster carries out the computer’s instructions and predicts the weather from hour to hour. In 1950, meteorologists had no time to deal with the 50-odd variables that should have been mathematically handled to predict the weather 24 hours in advance. With the use of this machine, it is easy to spot a budding hurricane off the coast of Africa. Before it has a chance to gather strength and speed as it travels westward toward Florida, oil is spread over the sea and ignited. There is an updraft. Air from the surrounding region, which includes the developing hurricane, rushes in to fill the void. The rising air condenses so that some of the water in the whirling mass falls as rain.
GREGORY BENFORD, Popular Mechanics, (2012), "The Future That Never Was: Pictures from the Past', [online], Available: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/future-that-never-was-next-gen-tech-concepts?click=main_sr#slide-1