Partnering For Power in Communities On The East Coast
May 13, 2015 /3BL Media/ - From the moment we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night, electricity powers our active lives. Electricity fuels our computers and appliances, lights our homes, keeps us warm when the temperatures drop and cools us down when the mercury soars.
"We live in an on-line, 24/7 connected society, so when the power goes out it can almost feel like we`ve lost touch with the world," says Jim Madej, Senior Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions, National Grid. "To help keep the lights on in communities, we've teamed up with WeatherBug."
National Grid and WeatherBug installed more than 50 WeatherBug Weather Stations at schools, public safety and community buildings across New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the past year. The live weather data streaming from these stations, plus advanced forecasting technology, helps National Grid better predict, monitor and respond to outages.
"By knowing when and where to deploy repair crews in advance, it`s possible for us to restore power faster to an area hit by severe weather," says Jorge Calzada, Director of Metrics, Advanced Analytics, & Customer Reliability, Network Strategy, National Grid. "Real-time local data from new WeatherBug stations placed in communities throughout New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is helping us to improve our outage forecasting by 50 percent."
Previously, these communities had to rely on weather reports from large cities and airports that could be 25 or more miles away. "At WeatherBug, we like to say that no one lives at the airport," says WeatherBug Senior Meteorologist, James West. "The weather at the airport could be significantly different from the weather in your town."
In addition to keeping the power on, weather data from these stations also helps keep communities safer. This past winter, in Rhode Island, the weather station at the Westerly Public Safety Complex helped local emergency management officials prepare for weather events by tracking wind speeds and dropping temperatures.
In New York, the weather station at the Albany County Sheriff`s Office provides additional information for law enforcement, emergency and safety crews to plan and make decisions that could be impacted by the weather. "Having immediate access to current, localized weather conditions and forecasts is going to be a great tool for our enforcement, emergency and safety crews. This is something that we`ll be able to use year-round -- whether the concern is snow and sleet in the winter or lightning strikes in the summer. The more information we have, the better we will be able to serve," said Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple in a statement earlier this year.
Another important benefit of the partnership involves education. Area K-12 schools can use local weather data to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons. For example, weather information can be incorporated into classroom lessons at Petersham Center School in central Massachusetts, and at Oneida High School in upstate New York. Both schools received weather stations, along with more than 10 others, as part of the National Grid program.
The new weather stations are not just for National Grid`s exclusive use. Just like all of the other weather stations in WeatherBug`s nationwide network, the new stations provide current conditions, forecasts and real-time alerts. These new stations are accessible online from the free WeatherBug mobile apps for smartphones and the WeatherBug website.
"Local weather data matters. When it`s snowing, just a degree or two can mean the difference between icy roads or just a wet and slushy morning commute. In the summer, monitoring the temperature and heat index can help keep kids and athletes safer from the dangers of heat stroke. Tracking lightning is vital to help ensure the safety of kids and adults alike while at the pool, soccer practice or enjoying the outdoors. Live, local weather right from a neighborhood weather station can provide better information on current conditions," says WeatherBug Chief Meteorologist Mark Hoekzema.
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