The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's wind-profiling network to improve weather forecasting became fully operational in May and has been called a success story by Alexander McDonald, director of NOAA's Forecast Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.
The $16 million system consists of 29 stations in 15 central states where most of the severe weather occurs. Each of the stations automatically sends wind speed and direction information to an office in Boulder every 6 minutes. Hourly averaged wind data are then transmitted to National Weather Service offices throughout the United States for use in local forecasts. These same data are also transmitted to the National Meteorological Center outside of Washington, D.C., where it is integrated into computer numerical models for use in making mid-range forecasts.