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UVI Completes VI Mesonet Project; Weather Data Available to the Public

In time for the heart of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the UVI Center for Marine and Environmental Studies introduces a new local weather reporting system. VI Mesonet is a network of automated weather stations designed to monitor environmental data. The installation and activation of five weather stations with sensors complete the project, which  was conducted by the UVI Center for Marine and Environmental Studies on behalf of the Caribbean Regional Association (CaRA).

The weather network will measure meteorological data including air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and wind direction. Utilizing data quality control and computer modeling, station reports are provided in real time or near real time. Reports, including model forecasts, will be disseminated on the following radio stations: WGOD-FM, WSTA-AM, and WVWI-AM. Distribution to other media outlets will be announced. The data will also be supplied to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in San Juan. The San Juan Forecast Office is responsible for coastal marine forecasts for the US Virgin Islands. In addition, the data will also be provided to the National Hurricane Center.

Weather stations are located at Sandy Point on St. Croix, east of St. Thomas on Savannah Cay, on St. Thomas at radio station WGOD (atop Crown Mountain) and on Buck Island (south of Charlotte Amalie Harbor).   There is also a weather station on one of the Two Brothers rocks, east of St. John. Weather stations were installed and coordinated by Weatherflow, an experienced company under contract with UVI's Center for Marine and Environmental Studies. Weatherflow currently provides data processing, quality-control, archiving, model development and information distribution.

Weatherflow will use a wind model to provide high resolution forecasts, calibrated and improved by observations from the Virgin Islands weather stations.  Installation of the new weather stations required the approvals of local and federal Fish and Wildlife offices, the VI Department of Property and Procurement, the US Coast Guard, and private landowners.

VI Mesonet was established in 2005 by UVI and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, in their joint effort to build the Caribbean Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System (CarICOOS).   UVI is a major partner and sub-contractor with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM), which utilizes funds awarded from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to build the ocean observing system as part of the national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).

VI Mesonet data will be available directly through the Weatherflow web site, http://www.windalert.com, or the CarICOOS web site, http://caricoos.org/drupal. The CarICOOS site may be visited for additional oceanic and atmospheric information in the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico region. At the moment, all data products are presented as experimental products.

For additional information, consult the CaRA web page, http://cara.uprm.edu, or contact Dr. Nasseer Idrisi of UVI's Center for Marine and Environmental Studies at 693-1380.