Commerce's Daley OKs AWIPS deployment

Twenty-one National Weather Service sites this year will begin using an operational
version of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System now that Commerce Secretary
William Daley has approved AWIPS deployment.

 The weather service has been running a prototype version at 12 test locations to
evaluate system performance. AWIPS contractor PRC Inc. developed the forecasting
application software that runs on Hewlett-Packard Co.'s 750 and 755 series workstations.

 Daley's approval of the deployment plan gives NWS' parent agency, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a green light to proceed with the nationwide
rollout. Eventually, NOAA plans to deploy AWIPS at 148 sites across the country.

 During the past decade, schedule delays, design changes and cost overruns have
plagued the $500 million AWIPS project, the core component of the service's weather
systems modernization.

 But when approving the deployment plans this month, Daley said the system was now
ready for daily operational use and had proved an invaluable resource at the 12 pilot
sites. 

"The National Weather Service has clearly demonstrated that AWIPS will help
forecasters provide better weather and flood-related services to protect our
citizens," Daley said.

 AWIPS will let forecasters display information from many sources on a single
terminal. 

Forecasters without AWIPS have to gather weather prediction data from satellites and radar
stations using several different workstations and terminals.

 The single-terminal source for all weather data is designed to enhance accuracy as
well as the speed of forecasts, AWIPS officials said.

 For data communications, AWIPS relies on satellite broadcast service to transmit
information to and from weather service locations, private sector sites and educational
facilities.  


About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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