Category: Articles

Haag’s Storm Reports: Accurate, Reliable Weather Event Data for Insurance & Legal Professionals

Haag's Storm REPORTS Portal:
Accurate, Reliable Weather Data for Insurance and Legal Professionals

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2023 produced an unprecedented number of billion-dollar disasters – 28 in total – across the United States. This is the highest number of billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. on record. In the first six months alone, 12 individual billion-dollar weather and climate disasters devastated parts of the nation. These 28 events from 2023 included 17 severe weather/hail events and two tornado outbreaks. According to NOAA’s billion-dollar disaster record dating back to 1980, the U.S. has sustained 376 separate weather and climate disasters exceeding a cumulative cost of $2.660 trillion.

As homes and properties are increasingly affected by severe weather, access to reliable information about these events is critical. NOAA and several other agencies meticulously track these events and have incredible amounts of data available to users. But which sites should you access? How can these events be seen in relation to your property? How do you know which events have impacted a specific location over the years? The Haag Geoportal has the answers to these questions.

The Storm Reports portal on the Haag Geoportal is the ultimate tool for accessing detailed, reliable, and accurate weather reports for wind, hail, and tornado events. It is a powerful mapping application that aggregates data from multiple sources and displays results in an easy-to-understand visual and interactive format. Users search for a location, enter a date range, and select events they are interested in from hail, wind, and tornado options. The Storm Reports portal compiles data from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC; preliminary data that is updated daily) and the Storm Events Database (SED; finalized data available approximately 90 days after an event occurred) and displays relevant events based on the search criteria. Users then have the option to export a PDF report with details about each event including date and time of occurrence, location, magnitude, distance from the location, event narrative, and more. Data is derived from verified national weather sources and is never manipulated, which makes it perfect for insurance professionals, forensic investigators, legal professionals, etc.

Initial location search:

Haag’s Storm Portal reports cover a robust 14-year span (2010 to present day) of weather events and are updated daily, ensuring you have the most accurate and historical data available. These reports are an invaluable tool when trying to assess where events occurred and the magnitude of the events. The data also provides insights into weather patterns – clusters of events show where storms passed through an area and which locations could have been impacted the most severely. When paired with an on-site inspection by a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM), the comprehensive data provided in the reports is invaluable for professionals who need to document and verify weather events. Whether you’re assessing property damage, preparing legal cases, or conducting forensic analysis, the Haag Geoportal provides the accurate and reliable data you need. 

As global temperatures rise, the number of severe events will continue to increase. Users of all types need a way to research and understand the impact of weather, especially when it affects their property. The Haag Geoportal allows users to unlock precise weather history and view reliable, verified data to streamline the weather analysis process. Sign up today and experience the difference that weather reporting can make. For more information and to sign up for a free account, visit the Haag Geoportal site today or contact our Geoportal team at

We’re excited to announce that our Hurricane Report will be available soon for the 2024 hurricane season. This report will feature detailed storm data, Local Storm Reports (LSRs), high water mark data, peak summaries, and more. Stay tuned for this addition to the Haag Geoportal.

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About the Author
Marcie Deffenbaugh, Manager, GIS Services

Marcie Deffenbaugh is the Manager of GIS Services for Haag, a Salas O’Brien Company. Ms. Deffenbaugh oversees initiatives related to GIS planning, system design, and system administration. She also manages a staff of GIS technicians, analysts, cartographers, and project administrative assistants who provide data validation and project management services for oil and gas clients. As the primary liaison between the client management teams and Haag personnel, Ms. Deffenbaugh provides technical consulting services on a regular basis.

Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Haag, a Salas O’Brien Company or subsidiaries. 

Expert Spotlight: Ahmad Elhajj, PE – Forensic Engineer in Baltimore, MD

Haag 100 Year Anniversary - A century of forensic innovation

Ahmad Elhajj: Expert Forensic Engineer in Baltimore, MD

Ahmad Elhajj’s journey into the world of engineering was deeply influenced by his upbringing in refugee camps with deteriorating civil infrastructure. Witnessing firsthand the impact of poor construction, he was inspired to pursue a career where he could make a significant difference. His passion for evaluating building failures has been a driving force throughout his career, providing him with a sense of fulfillment and purpose. One of his most challenging projects involved constructing a road through Tyre, using locally sourced materials to create a durable concrete matrix without the benefit of established codes or standards. This project stands as a testament to his resourcefulness and commitment to improving infrastructure in resource-limited communities.

Ahmad Elhajj: Expert Forensic Engineer in Baltimore, MD

To stay abreast of the latest developments in forensic engineering, Ahmad relies on esteemed publications like Structure Magazine and regularly attends conferences hosted by the Structural Engineering Association and the American Concrete Institute. His involvement with professional peers has been instrumental in keeping him updated on industry advancements. Ahmad’s presentation to the ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute on construction defects in March 2022 and his role on the Committee on Practices to Reduce Failures highlight his dedication to sharing knowledge and improving industry standards most critical to life safety. Recently, he has also navigated the complexities brought about by the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in engineering, demonstrating his adaptability and critical thinking in addressing AI-related challenges in the commercial use of the technology.

Continuous learning is a cornerstone of Ahmad’s professional philosophy. He holds dual degrees in civil engineering and physics from the University of Virginia, complemented by postgraduate work in computer science. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in structural engineering at Auburn University, set to graduate in December 2024. Ahmad emphasizes the importance of developing soft skills, which he believes are crucial for success in the engineering field. His advice to aspiring professionals underscores the necessity of a well-rounded skill set, combining technical expertise with effective communication and problem-solving abilities.

Balancing work and personal life is essential for Ahmad’s productivity and well-being. He advocates for a work environment that supports personal well-being, challenging the outdated notion that excessive pressure leads to better performance. He prioritizes time with his wife, with whom he shares a passion for bouldering, a hobby that they enjoy together. Ahmad also dedicates time to volunteering with Penny Appeal USA, coaching youth wrestling, and reading the works of Edward W. Said and Antony Lowenstein.

Looking ahead, Ahmad is excited about the future of engineering, particularly the increasing complexity of codes and the growing emphasis on prescriptive design allowances. This evolution allows engineers to focus on solving intricate problems, such as designing bridges for vessel impacts. Ahmad is enthusiastic about offering non-destructive evaluation services to address building failures, leveraging his extensive expertise to contribute to the field’s advancement. His forward-thinking approach and commitment to excellence position him as a valuable asset to the engineering community.

Ahmad Elhajj, P.E., is a forensic engineer based in Baltimore, Maryland. In his forensic practice, Mr. Elhajj applies meticulous attention to detail, delivering comprehensive scientific analysis and reporting to educate clients with answers to their technical questions.  He brings the big picture into focus with thorough scientific data and analysis to qualify its soundness.  His capabilities extend well beyond traditional origin and cause determinations to include wraparound services like cost estimating and remediation design, as applied to the built environment, temporary construction supports and structures, and construction materials.  Structures of all types, bridges and buildings, from the ground to the sky, are carefully analyzed under the applied sciences governing their physical behavior.  This is Ahmad’s craft—Investigative Sciences, Applied.

Introducing the Haag Geoportal: Comprehensive Weather Event Data for Insurance and Legal Professionals

Geoportal US weather Maps

Introducing the Haag Geoportal:
Comprehensive Weather Event Data for Insurance and Legal Professionals

Dallas, TX – June 25, 2024 – Haag, a Salas O’Brien Company, the United States oldest and most respected forensic consulting firm and leader in forensic meteorology, announced today the launch of its innovative new product, the Haag Geoportal. This interactive web-mapping application is designed to provide insurance and legal professionals with comprehensive, reliable weather event data tailored to specific site locations.

A New Standard in Weather Reporting

The Haag Geoportal delivers precise and detailed weather reports, covering a wide range of storm types, including wind, hail and tornado events. Hurricanes will be added in the fall 2024. By leveraging data sourced from verified national weather authorities such as the NOAA Storm Event Database, NOAA Storm Prediction Center, and the National Weather Service, the Haag Geoportal ensure that users receive trustworthy and defensible information every time.

Why the Haag Geoportal is Different

Unlike other platforms that use proprietary algorithms and offer higher-cost services, the Haag Geoportal provides direct, unmanipulated data from multiple national authorities. This approach not only ensures the data’s accuracy and reliability but also makes it defensible in court, a critical factor for legal and insurance professionals.

Product Features and Benefits

With the Haag Geoportal, users can:

  • Access Accurate Storm & Hurricane Reports: The platform delivers tailored, site-specific weather data ideal for insurance claims, legal cases, forensic investigations, and detailed weather analysis.
  • Receive Verified and Reliable Data: Utilizing both preliminary and finalized data from multiple sources, our reports cover a robust 14-year span and are updated daily.
  • Customized Reports to Fit Specific Needs: Each report includes maps, event types, dates, event magnitudes, and more, providing comprehensive data suited to individual requirements.

Discover how the Haag Geoportal can enhance and expedite your data analysis and reporting process. Visit our website to learn more, create your free account, and request a demo to see the platform in action.

For more information, please contact

Polly Prado, Director of Corporate Communications

214.614.6500 or


About Haag, a Salas O’Brien Company

Established in 1924, Haag, a Salas O’Brien Company, is proud to celebrate 100 years of forensic innovation and consulting excellence. Haag’s comprehensive services include forensic engineering, forensic meteorology, forensic architecture, construction consulting, fire origin and cause, forensic research and testing, education courses and training, and GIS, BIM, and 3D scanning technology solutions. We specialize in serving the legal, insurance, construction, and manufacturing industries, plus private companies. With a century of expertise, Haag has become the national authority in examining, analyzing, and consulting on complex engineering and technical challenges following failure and damage to the built environment. In June 2024, Haag merged with Salas O’Brien, an employee-owned engineering and technology firm at the forefront of sustainable design. Together, Haag is poised to embrace new challenges, adapt to evolving industries, and provide cutting-edge innovations that will shape the future of forensic engineering and consulting.

About Salas O’Brien

Salas O’Brien is an employee-owned engineering and technical services firm focused on advancing the human experience through the built environment. Our team is engineered for impact™, helping clients achieve critical goals, advancing our team members through growth and opportunity, and operating at the center of important global issues including sustainability and decarbonization. We are a top firm as ranked by Engineering News-Record and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, and we have appeared for over a decade on the Inc. 5000 list of North America’s fastest-growing private companies.

The Art and Science of Collaborative Construction Consulting – June 2024


By Brian Segedin, Senior Construction Consultant

I believe I can safely speak for all construction consultants when I say report writing is the most enjoyable part of being a Construction Consultant.  The effortless speed at which we type, skillfully using our ten human digits, makes writing impactful reports almost instinctive.  Words naturally flow from us, artfully describing the sequence of damaging events and laying out multi-phase repair concepts with flawless clarity.  Our writing stands alone, hardly needing the support of photographs or drawings.  But, of course, we have photos – lots of them.  We only include a select few in our reports because sorting, captioning and keeping track of them is tedious, and too many visuals can distract from our perfected prose. The unseen images? They are compressed and hidden on expensive hard drives.  Who would ever dare meddle with this beloved process?

Haag will.

Development level visualization of exterior finish combinations. The data can be symbolized with various colors, shapes, and overlays to highlight varying attribute information between each unit.

The business units of Haag have a long and rich history of innovating methods, procedures, and tools to turn complex and ambiguous situations into manageable and quantifiable solutions over the past one hundred years.  Haag Construction Consulting is supported by the vast knowledge and experience of our Forensic Engineers, Research and Testing, Forensic Meteorologists, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialists, 3D Scanning/Modeling and Photogrammetry Specialists, and a myriad of technical professionals.  Haag Construction Consultants, who frequently encounter unique and challenging situations in the field, have quick access to our specialist colleagues, providing a massive toolbox for any scenario. 

Units with a specific combination of exterior finishes
Units with a specific combination of exterior finishes. Users can filter data so that only units that meet the specified criteria appear on the screen.

Three key technologies — Geographic Information Systems (GIS), 3D Scanning/Modeling, and Photogrammetry — are the building blocks of data collection, organization, and presentation capabilities at Haag.  Our teams collaborate with specialists in these areas to develop capabilities within our secure web mapping application, the Haag Geoportal. The GeoPortal collects, organizes, and presents the most accurate information possible in a visually engaging interactive map-based environment.  Consultants and engineers will work independently or side-by-side using a custom mobile app to log field observations, notes, sketches, photos and scans that are geocoded to the coordinates where they were captured.  Information is automatically categorized when captured and stored in real time by location in an organized and accessible shared workspace. Team members at their desks can work with the data and images as their colleagues continue to collect in the field.  When a project goes live on the GeoPortal, clients can have access to all their data with the desired level of granularity.

Linked building elevations, sections and floorplans documenting test results
3D scan generated floorplan overlaid with Infrared scan data
3D Scan point cloud

When responding to a catastrophe, accuracy and timeliness are paramount.  In the coming months, Haag’s clients will have the ability to watch a map populate with markers for their inspected losses, select single addresses or individual buildings in a large development or campus, and instantly understanding of the severity of the situation with a mouse-click.  Litigation clients, for example, will be able to view development-wide maps with symbols depicting building types, finishes, and the status of destructive testing progress and results.  The enhanced Haag GeoPortal is expected to launch to the public in Q4 2024.

The power of a knowledgeable team of construction professionals equipped with a well-developed GIS workspace and mobile collection app cannot be understated.  It is an exciting time to be part of Haag, working with a project team to develop a system that will enhance the way our team communicates findings for decades to come.

3D scan generated elevation documenting invasive testing


Brian segedin, senior construction consultant

Brian Segedin is a Senior Construction Consultant with Haag Construction Consulting. Mr. Segedin is an experienced consultant with more than 27 years in the construction industry. He is based in Pequannock, New Jersey, near the NYC area. Mr. Segedin’s areas of expertise include facility condition assessments, energy efficiency, construction management, and property loss consulting. He most recently conducted facility condition assessments, including 30 Boston Public Schools campuses and 20 sites for First Energy. He was the owner of Atlantic LED Solutions for almost 10 years and worked on lighting projects for medical centers, roadways, warehouses and more. He has experience with property loss recovery and reconstruction projects, including New York Law School, and Hurricane Sandy recovery at One New York Plaza. He spent 13 years as a construction manager overseeing large commercial projects.

Mr. Segedin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State University. He is certified as a Qualified Individual – General Contractor Unlimited: South Carolina and Virginia, and an Associate Member of the Illuminating Engineering Society. He is skilled with Fulcrum, ArcGIS, Quickbooks, Xactimate, Timberline, Microsoft Office 360, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and Google Earth Pro.


Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Haag Technical Services, Haag Engineering Co., Haag Education, or parent company, Haag Global, Inc.

Brandon Alaniz Promoted to Vice President, Leader of Haag’s Construction Consulting Group


Brandon Alaniz Promoted to Vice President, Leader of Haag’s Construction Consulting Group

Dallas, Texas – June 6, 2024 – Haag Global, Inc., the United States’ oldest and most respected forensic consulting firm, is proud to announce the promotion of Brandon Alaniz to Vice President, where he will lead Haag’s construction consulting group.

“Brandon Alaniz is skilled in project management and experienced in leading teams of experts on large-scale and complex projects,” said Justin Kestner, P.E., CEO of Haag Global. “Over the past seven years at Haag, Brandon has successfully overseen demanding construction consulting projects including major litigation files.  He has been trained and mentored by industry veteran and outgoing Construction Consulting leader Larry Dillon to prepare for this leadership role. I am excited to see the imprint Brandon will make on our construction consulting team.”

Brandon has managed or had leading roles in numerous high-profile construction consulting projects, including multiple hurricane and earthquake files in Puerto Rico such as the historic El San Juan hotel. With over 27 years in the construction industry that spans luxury residential to large complex construction projects, he brings a wealth of experience in building construction, repair, and restoration cost assessments for the insurance and legal industries. Brandon is adept at preparing cost estimates and providing litigation support including construction defects and addressing contractor’s standard of care.

As Vice President of Haag Construction Consulting, Brandon will oversee a talented team of consultants, many of whom are likewise very experienced and accomplished. One of Brandon’s priorities will be to expand the division and elevate team members into leadership roles.  Brandon was honored with Haag’s Outstanding Leadership and Mentorship Award and Project of the Year awards. Before joining Haag, Brandon worked as a Commercial Project Superintendent for Manhattan Construction Company and held supervisory roles with Braswell Company, Stephenson Consulting, and David Weekley Homes.

Larry Dillon will continue to play a key role in Haag Construction Consulting as Executive Vice President Emeritus/Litigation & Appraisals Lead. Larry will focus on expanding and enhancing litigation and appraisal services and overseeing staff development in those areas.

“Since joining Haag in 2016, Larry significantly enhanced the quality and reputation of Haag Construction Consulting and grew the division into an industry leader,” said CEO Kestner.  “He hired and mentored talented staff, took on large projects domestically and internationally, and developed Haag into a go-to firm for building and construction consulting services.  Larry has always enjoyed the challenge of litigation and appraisal files, and we are both excited that he will be able to help grow that work at Haag.”


About Haag Global, Inc.:

Established in 1924, Haag Global is proud to celebrate 100 years of forensic innovation and consulting excellence. Haag’s comprehensive services include forensic engineering, forensic meteorology, forensic architecture, construction consulting, fire origin and cause, forensic research and testing, education courses and training, and GIS, BIM, and 3D scanning technology solutions. We specialize in serving the legal, insurance, construction, and manufacturing industries, plus private companies. With a century of expertise, Haag has become the national authority in examining, analyzing, and consulting on complex engineering and technical challenges following failure and damage to the built environment. As we move into the next century, Haag is poised to embrace new challenges, adapt to evolving industries, and provide cutting-edge innovations that will shape the future of forensic engineering and consulting.


For more information, please contact:

Polly Prado, Director of Corporate Communications, 214.614.6500

Expert Spotlight: Brandon Alaniz, Vice President, Principal Construction Consultant

Haag 100 Year Anniversary - A century of forensic innovation

Brandon Alaniz: Leading Innovation and Excellence in Construction Consulting

Brandon Alaniz has built an impressive career as a construction consultant, seamlessly blending his extensive construction knowledge, business acumen, and interpersonal skills. His journey in the construction industry spans over 27 years, during which he has cultivated deep expertise in building reconstruction, restoration, and equipment and machinery remediation. As of June 1st, Brandon serves as Vice President and Principal Construction Consultant at Haag’s Construction Consulting division. Brandon is responsible for overseeing all consulting services and ensuring the delivery of high-quality work products, primarily serving the insurance and legal industries.

One of Brandon’s most challenging projects was the El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico, which was extensively damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017. The hotel project presented a myriad of obstacles due to its island location and the large and complex nature of the claim. It tested all facets of his professional skills, from dealing with unique circumstances to navigating potential litigation. Brandon’s ability to meticulously gather and analyze information proved crucial in overcoming hurdles and highlights his capacity to manage even the most demanding assignments.

Brandon Alaniz - Vice President Expert Spotlight

Brandon’s approach to problem-solving is grounded in simplicity. He tackles complex issues by breaking them down into manageable steps, allowing him to steadily progress toward a solution. This methodical approach was particularly evident in his work on the Puerto Rico litigation claims and the Dallas Independent School District tornado damage in 2019. He introduced new scoping methods that utilized an expanded use of technology, efficiently collecting, transferring and managing data. By integrating this technology company-wide, Brandon has enhanced the efficiency and accuracy of documenting losses, providing clients with superior outcomes.

Team collaboration and effective communication are cornerstones of Brandon’s leadership style. He emphasizes the importance of teamwork in delivering timely and high-quality results. By fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and leveraging the diverse expertise within his team, Brandon ensures that projects are completed efficiently, regardless of their scale.

Throughout his career, Brandon has achieved numerous milestones. He takes pride in his journey from construction production to his current leadership role. A pivotal moment in his career was joining Haag, a company with a storied history in forensic engineering and construction consulting. Brandon was recognized with Haag’s Leadership and Mentorship awards two years in a row and was honored with the Project of the Year award several times as well, a testament to Brandon’s dedication and expertise.

Brandon’s advice for aspiring professionals is to leverage the knowledge of those around them and technology, which can set them apart in the industry. He also emphasizes the importance of time management and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Outside of work, Brandon coaches AAU competitive basketball teams, participates in his children’s soccer activities, and enjoys golfing and exploring nature with his family.

Looking ahead, Brandon is excited about the future of Haag Construction Consulting. He is committed to attracting and nurturing talent within his team, and continuing the significant growth Haag has experienced over the past eight years. His vision and dedication position him as a standout leader in construction consulting.

Laminated Shingle Repair – May 2024

Can 36-inch laminated asphalt shingles be repaired with metric-sized laminated asphalt shingles?

By Steven R. Smith, P.E., Director of Research & Testing, Forensic Engineer

Laminated shingles today are manufactured in “metric” sizes, which nominally measure one meter in length and about 1/3 meter in width. Long ago, several roofing manufacturers made laminated shingles the same size as their three-tab varieties, which were, and continue to measure 36 inches in length and 12 inches in width. Many of the older, 36-inch-long shingles are still in service today, but can a reliable roof repair be made to an old roof using larger, modern day laminated shingles?

This has become a common question in today’s roofing industry because of possible issues regarding mismatched nailing patterns, misalignments, aesthetic issues, exposed nails and unsightly overlaps.  These questions have further raised concerns that making repairs with larger shingles could cause roof leaks or diminish the wind resistance of the roof.

Haag Research & Testing, a division of Haag Global, delved into this topic by purchasing bundles of discontinued, 36-inch-long shingles and tested repair methods for their viability. We evaluated the process of trimming a larger metric shingle down to size for use in making repairs to the smaller, 36-inch-long shingles. Our procedures evaluated nailing patterns, overlaps, alignments, and even the wind resistance of repairs using our state of the art wind generator. 

Our procedures, technical considerations, test methods, and results are presented in a new technical publication titled “Repairing an Existing 36-inch Laminated Asphalt Shingle with Metric-Sized Laminated Asphalt Shingles”. The paper discusses the technical considerations regarding fastener placement, the use of shingle adhesive, effects of ambient temperatures during roof installation, and even an unexpected consequence when old, but otherwise new shingles (still in their bundle packaging) are installed.  

View Haag Research & Testing’s study, available for purchase here. 
Figure 1: Panel constructed with 36-inch-long shingles to replicate a roof.
Figure 2: Simulating a diagonal row of shingles removed by wind.
Figure 3: Test panel positioned in front of wind generator.
Figure 4: Catastrophic failure of shingles subjected to strong wind. (Note airborne shingles.)
Figure 5: Shingle torn at fasteners during wind testing.



Steven R. Smith is a Forensic Engineer with Haag Engineering Co., and the Director of Research & Testing. Mr. Smith is an experienced forensic engineer who began his career with Haag more than 24 years ago. He spent seven years working as a Senior Lab Technician while earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from The University of Texas at Arlington. He has been involved with the lab throughout his career, and has been able to leverage his extensive and practical engineering field experience with research and testing projects.

Mr. Smith’s areas of expertise include accident reconstruction, mechanical equipment evaluations, code and standards compliance, roofing system evaluations, and fires and explosions. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and Pi Tau Sigma National Honor Society. Prior to joining Haag, Mr. Smith was a Petty Officer Second Class in the United States Navy. He trained at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command Center in Orlando Florida and was stationed on the USS Arkansas (CGN-41), where he maintained reactor and steam plant chemistry, performed radiological controls, and operated mechanical equipment in the propulsion plant.


Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Haag Technical Services, Haag Engineering Co., Haag Education, or parent company, Haag Global, Inc.

Expert Spotlight: William Ashman, P.E., Forensic Engineer

Haag 100 Year Anniversary - A century of forensic innovation

Engineering Expert Spotlight: William (Bill) Ashman, P.E. - Salt Lake City, Utah

William (Bill) Ashman, P.E., brings a unique blend of passion and expertise to his role as a Forensic Engineer at Haag Global. With a career spanning five years in engineering and consulting, Bill’s journey into this field was sparked by a childhood fascination with architectural sketches and a pivotal physics class in high school. These early influences ignited his interest in engineering, setting him on a path towards becoming a seasoned professional in the field.

When it comes to solving complex engineering problems, Bill subscribes to Kidlin’s Law: “If you write the problem down clearly, then the matter is half solved.” He believes in meticulously documenting the problem at hand, enabling stakeholders to provide feedback and consensus while streamlining the solution process. This pragmatic approach has served him well throughout his career, allowing him to balance budgetary constraints with optimizing effective solutions.

William (Bill) Ashman, PE - Salt Lake City Utah

Effective communication and collaboration are paramount in Bill’s projects, as he understands the importance of timely, transparent communication rooted in reality. By sharing information openly and honestly, Bill facilitates a collaborative environment where problems can be defined clearly, and solutions can be developed efficiently.

One of Bill’s proudest accomplishments in his engineering career was his significant contribution to the design of the Nashville International Airport Arrivals Facility. This project was featured in the Modern Steel Construction October 2022 issue, marking a milestone in his professional journey.

Looking ahead, Bill is eager to expand his range of practice through licensure in adjacent states and aspires to achieve licensure as an “SE” in addition to being a “PE.” His commitment to continuous growth and development reflects his dedication to pushing the boundaries of engineering excellence.

With a solid background in design and forensic engineering, Bill has honed his skills in structural evaluations, wind damage assessment, and moisture intrusion analysis. His expertise extends to bridges, culverts, retaining walls, and sign structures, making him a valuable asset to Haag Global.

Through his meticulous attention to detail, pragmatic problem-solving approach, and unwavering commitment to excellence, Bill Ashman exemplifies the qualities of an exceptional engineer and a notable contributor to our company.

Storm Reports: Where Do They Come From? – April 2024

Storm Reports: Where do they come from (Part 1)

To reconstruct a weather event, a forensic meteorologist searches through numerous databases looking for as much ground truth as possible. One source of ground truth is the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Storm Events Database which provides the official record for storm reports.

During and after any given weather event, meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices receive reports of both severe and sub-severe weather from over a dozen different sources (Figure 1). After the weather events, each of the 122 NWS Forecast Offices review the reports before submitting them to the Storm Events Database. This quality control process usually requires 75-90 days after a weather event takes place for the official, published reports to become publicly available.

Figure 1. NWS Weather Forecast Offices receive weather reports from numerous sources during and after severe weather events.

However, the details of a meteorological event can, at times, be painted with information not found in the Storm Events Database. Given the influx of reports from so many sources, it’s very easy for some of these reports to go unnoticed or undocumented by the NWS. Likewise, when there are numerous reports in one area, the NWS may simply take the largest report or consolidate reports into swaths. As such, some weather reports are not included in the official database produced and maintained by the NWS. Therefore, forensic meteorologists often need to search through the available unofficial databases, along with the officially published record when reconstructing a weather event.

Storm reports that are initially received by the NWS Weather Forecast Offices are documented as Preliminary Local Storm Reports (PLSRs). PLSRs are official products from the NWS typically issued in near real-time during a weather event, and most commonly contain severe weather reports, such as hail greater than 1.00-inch, wind greater than 58 mph, and tornadoes, along with the time and location of occurrence. However, there are times that sub-severe weather is noteworthy to the partners of the NWS (e.g. broadcast media and emergency management), so PLSRs are often produced to indicate sub-severe weather reports as well. PLSRs will, at times, contain information such as heavy rainfall amounts, snow amounts, and dense fog, among other minor weather impacts. There are certainly times in the analysis of a weather event that sub-severe weather reports will help reconstruct the details of that event. In the end, the Storm Events Database is typically populated with severe weather reports, while omitting most of the sub-severe reports and minor impacts.  

PLSRs that meet severe weather criteria (1.00-inch hail, 58 mph wind, and/or tornado) become available in the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Storm Reports database in near real-time. This is useful because there is a 75–90-day lag between the severe weather event and when the storm reports from that event are officially published in the NCEI Storm Events Database. While SPC storm reports are not quality-controlled they offer perhaps the best resource for ground truth information in the time between a severe weather event and the publishing of the official reports in the Storm Events Database.

Other storm report databases contain information provided by members of the public, who are interested in participating in the collection of weather data. Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground (mPING) was established in 2012 in a joint venture with the University of Oklahoma, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorology Studies (now CIWRO).  mPING was developed to allow citizens to upload real-time meteorological information, including hail and wind reports using the GPS capabilities of their smart devices and a downloadable app. Archived mPING data can be viewed using third-party radar software.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network was established in 1998 and contains thousands of volunteers nation-wide who submit daily precipitation, rainfall, and snowfall measurements from their places of business or residence. When severe weather moves through their area, volunteers have the capability to submit hail reports and provide comments describing the storms.

These are just a few of the publicly available sources for unofficial storm reports that forensic meteorologists may utilize when analyzing an event. While there is an element of quality control in the process of publishing the information into the Storm Events Database, the omission of reports from PLSRs, SPC Storm Reports, mPING, CoCoRaHS, or any other unofficial database does not necessarily preclude those reports from being useful in the post-event analysis. These reports, combined with sound analysis by an experienced meteorologist can help provide details into events otherwise not made possible by using solely the NCEI Storm Events Database.

In the next part, we will show an example of how Haag Certified Consulting Meteorologists can use unofficial databases to help paint the details of a complex severe weather event by supplementing the official, published storm reports with information provided by PLSRs, mPING, and CoCoRaHS. 


Jared Leighton
Jared Leighton, CCM, FORENSIC Meteorologist 

Jared Leighton, CCM, is a Forensic Meteorologist with Haag Engineering Co. Based near Kansas City, Jared Leighton has over 16 years of experience in meteorology. He has spent the last decade as Senior Forecaster for NOAA National Weather Service in Kansas City, Missouri, and as a General Forecaster and Meteorological Intern prior to that position.

Mr. Leighton has extensive, comprehensive experience in NWS forecast operations across multiple geographic areas, including frequent supervision of severe and winter weather watch and warning operations. He regularly conducted storm surveys, both solo and as storm survey team lead, including multiple tornadoes in Kansas and Missouri, as well as the severe weather event on September 15, 2010, in which 7.75 inch hail occurred in Wichita, Kansas (the second largest certified hailstone recorded in the US). Mr. Leighton led and participated in several research teams, resulting in five peer-reviewed formal publications as well as presentations at local, regional, and national conferences. He also organized local storm spotter training in coordination with emergency management and led the Storm Ready community preparedness program.

Mr. Leighton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of California Davis. He is an American Meteorological Society Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM #783).


Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Haag Technical Services, Haag Engineering Co., Haag Education, or parent company, Haag Global, Inc.

Expert Spotlight: Jonathan Goode, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President of Engineering

Haag 100 Year Anniversary - A century of forensic innovation

Jonathan goode: the engineering expert driving innovation at haag global

Jonathan Goode, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President of Engineering and Forensic Engineer at Haag Global, exemplifies excellence in engineering, seamlessly weaving together a tapestry of expertise, experience, and passion that distinguishes him in his field. With a comprehensive educational background encompassing B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural and Civil Engineering from the University of Georgia, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Colorado State University, Jonathan has laid a formidable foundation for his illustrious career.

Jonathan’s journey into engineering and consulting was sparked by a pivotal moment during Hurricane Opal in 1995, where his intrigue with wind and its impact on structures was piqued. This early fascination has since evolved into a lifelong dedication to understanding and mitigating structural vulnerabilities, a commitment that permeates every aspect of his work.

Jonathan Goode, Ph.D., P.E. - VP of Engineering

Throughout his tenure at Haag Global, Jonathan has showcased his prowess in structural evaluations, damage assessment, and forensic engineering, playing a pivotal role in evaluating and reporting on numerous high-profile cases involving roof collapses, storm damage, and construction defects. His problem-solving approach is grounded in simplicity, breaking down complex issues into manageable pieces and discerning the interactions between them. He recognizes that logic, reasoning and the simple application of engineering sciences can often suffice without need for extensive calculations. This pragmatic mindset underscores his ability to navigate intricate challenges with efficiency and effectiveness. His expertise extends beyond mere technical proficiency, as evidenced by his ability to lead cross-functional teams and foster collaborative relationships both within and outside the organization.

As a leader, Jonathan’s visionary outlook and dedication to mentorship set him apart. His tenure as an Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University and his role in establishing the Natural Hazards Research Laboratory bear testament to his passion for education and research. He has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, underscoring his contributions to the advancement of engineering knowledge. At Haag, he continues to inspire and lead by example, earning the trust and respect of his colleagues through his unwavering dedication to excellence.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Jonathan maintains a steadfast commitment to work-life balance, prioritizing family and personal well-being without compromising on his dedication to his craft. His transition from academia to Haag exemplifies his ability to align his career with his passions, ultimately finding fulfillment in a role that allows him to make a meaningful impact in his chosen field.

Looking ahead, Jonathan remains steadfast in his vision for the future of Haag Global, envisioning a company that continues to attract top talent, expand its reach, and solidify its position as a leader in forensic engineering and consulting. With each new project and every new team member, Jonathan sees an opportunity to further the company’s mission and uphold its values, ensuring a legacy of excellence that extends far beyond his tenure. Jonathan is a visionary leader whose passion, expertise, and dedication continue to shape the future of our company and the industry at large.

Jonathan is located in Dallas, Texas. He is a licensed professional engineer in 17 states (AL, AR, CO, FL, GA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX and VA). He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and serves on the Committee on Forensic Practices in the Forensic Engineering Division.