October 11, 2011. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
WeatherFlow continued to strengthen its presence in the Caribbean region, signing a contract extension with the Caribbean Coastal Oceanographic Observing System (CARICOOS), the regional component of NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System. The contract provides for the continued operation of a 12 station mesonet that was installed by WeatherFlow in 2008 and 2009, with 7 stations located in Puerto Rico and 5 stations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It also funds the installation of one additional station, which WeatherFlow is currently coordinating with CARICOOS officials.
Since its installation, the Caribbean mesonet has been warmly received in the region and has filled significant gaps in available weather observing data. WeatherFlow’s station at *** provides badly needed data for the port of San Juan and for the first time has allowed the local National Weather Service Forecast Office to verify its forecasts for the nearshore waters. The entire network proved its value during the 2011 Hurricane season, when it provided much-needed data during Hurricane Irene, which caused one death and left more than 800,000 without power in Puerto Rico.
The new CARICOOS station is expected to be installed in early 2012 and is expected to be joined by an additional mesonet of four 60 meter meteorological towers and one SODAR to be installed on the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas. WeatherFlow is in the final planning stages of this project, working with the Virgin Islands Energy Office to install these boundary layer sensors in order to assess the wind energy potential for the region.
With a unique mix of surface-based and boundary layer sensors, this combined observing capability provides a dramatic increase in the quantity, quality, and breadth of weather data available to local citizens, businesses, and government planners. WeatherFlow will be continuing an active outreach program, working with the local cruise ship and tourist industries to refine its products and services for these sectors, increasing safety for both the public and the private sectors.