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.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
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