The weather is pretty much all anyone talks about these days.
March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb. For 2013, it’s a cold, damp, snowy lamb. But in just a few days, we’re on to April showers and then May flowers.
What we all should be talking about, when it comes to the weather at least, is the high-technological marvel that exists right here in Fairmont, W.Va., when it comes to weather prediction and its potential for growth. Who needs Punxsutawney Phil, who is currently wanted in at least one state for fraudulent weather prediction? We’ve got the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its National Weather Service right in our back yard.
And through new technology, right here in Fairmont, severe weather information will be put into the hands of meteorologists and the public more quickly. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., came together with officials from NOAA and the National Weather Service to announce an expansion and plans to establish new operations in Fairmont to manage the next-generation weather satellites.
It’s the satellites that make it possible for the agency to make forecasts several days in advance. The global observer system will be greatly enhanced by the work that is currently going on with NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R). The Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont will become the backup hub for the data coming from both satellite systems.
“You have to get that data fast and you have to get it reliably,” said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service. “It has to work every time.”
NOAA is upgrading its research computers, and the location in Fairmont will see the addition of three high-performance supercomputers, which will run numeric models in order to develop weather forecasts. Also, three new weather antennas will be constructed near the Research Center in Fairmont to communicate with NOAA’s geostationary weather satellites.
“This data is shared by all and used by all,” Rockefeller said. “This is deemed to be an excellent technologically-based center for advanced research and analysis, and that makes me happy.
“Now we’re going to have more accurate tools to be able to make this analysis,” he said. “It’s very good news for West Virginia. It’s very good news for this facility and for the whole northern West Virginia.”
We all know just how important weather forecasting is — and not of the groundhog variety. West Virginia was greatly impacted by historic weather events over the past year, including the severe flooding on Feb. 29, the derecho in June and Hurricane Sandy in October.
Fast and accurate information sent out to residents through alerts and weather forecasts simply saves lives. That’s the most important part of this expansion.
That it’s happening right here in Fairmont means more direct and indirect employment, the expansion of our fast-growing high-technology sector and a bigger reputation for being the kind of community that is capable of handling projects of this caliber.
Our forecast is for more and more growth in this area. And that is a great thing.
The weather is pretty much all anyone talks about these days.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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