From the ABC 7 Weather team

Storm Chaser Field Trip to WeatherBug HQ

November 7, 2013 - 04:56 AM
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The StormChaser hummer got a weather tune-up Wednesday.  Find out what's new and check out the WeatherBug tour.

Who doesn't love a mid-week field trip?  I know I certainly do and that's exactly what I got to do on Wednesday.  Our Storm Chaser is ABC7 and News Channel 8's mobile weather unit.  We drive around town to bring you the current weather observations from your neighborhood. 

Wednesday morning I traveled to Germantown, MD to visit the WeatherBug headquarters.  After live weather reports on Good Morning Washington, it was on to the main reason for the trip -- to calibrate the Storm Chaser.  My friend, and WeatherBug meteorologist Jacob Wycoff, assisted in calibrating the weather instruments on top of the truck (that WeatherBug provides).

Our mobile weather unit reads and displays the current temperature, wind chill/heat index, dewpoint, relative humidity, wind direction and wind speed, barometric pressure and rainfall.  It's a great resource that adds to our ability to bring you the most accurate weather forecast.

Not only did we get all of our instruments calibrated on Wednesday, but we also got a tour of the Bug Headquarters (I felt like a kid in a candy store!).  The building is right off of I-270 in Germantown and can be seen from the highway.  Next time you're driving north on 270, look to the right (be aware of the cars in front of you) and you should make out the WeatherBug emblem on one of the large buildings.

The entire third floor is dedicated to WeatherBug.   WeatherBug is a global weather network that provides live weather data and forecasts for over 2.6 million cities worldwide.  Check out this display wall, which allows the meteorologists to analyze current conditions, radar, and live data from all their networks across the globe.

You may have seen the StormWatch7 weather team display weather conditions from across our viewing area via our WeatherBug network.  At each of those locations there are individual sensors that provide live weather data.  Some of these locations also have live weather cameras -- perfect for seeing what it really looks like!

Live Camera at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA

WeatherBug also has 700 lightning sensors across the globe, which makes it the largest total lightning detection network in the world.   One of the newest additions to the network is weather and total lightning sensors deployed in Guinea, Africa.   This is a huge advancement for a country that is vulnerable to the impact of severe weather (just like everyone else), but up until now, did not have the resources to properly prepare and detect imminent severe weather.

There are many new and exciting projects WeatherBug is working on.  Earth Networks, the owners of WeatherBug, is launching the first global greenhouse gas network.  Over the next five years, Earth Networks will invest $25 million to develop and implement networks that measure environmental factors such as air quality, water quality, wind and pollution.

The headquarters in Germantown has their own unit, in house, that costs around $50,000.  It was really neat to see such a huge advancement in global environmental forecasting and even cooler to see it so close to home!

WeatherBug has partnered with ABC7 and NewsChannel 8 since 2006.  It is an invaluable resource and a great partnership.  Thank you WeatherBug for the fun and educational field trip!

P.S. Guess who's not only on the side of the Storm Chaser, but also in WeatherBug's Headquarters?!  Yep, our very own Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill.

 

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