maybe it would pay for the upgrade.
Why not just pay attention to the European forecasts, which would cost nothing?
Actually, the NWS pays a great deal of money to see the ECMWF (the European model of choice) and are required to encrypt it before it is sent out to the various forecast offices over their NOAAPort system.
Europe: 70 TFLOPS by and upgrade to be finished by early 2013 (Sandy was in Oct 2012), which they say will make it about 3 times the power of the computer it replaces. i.e. 23 TFLOPS, they did a part upgrade during Sandy, to about 50 TFLOPS
USA: 213 TFLOPS, to be upgrade to 2,600 TFlops
So no, the Europeans did the prediction with 10%-20% of the supercomputing power, 2% of the proposed supercomputing power. This is just a subsidy to th