Just How Windy is it Outside?by Scott Sistek
KATU, August 8, 2010
Here's a new way to find out Getting good weather data is always a challenge around here as official weather stations are fairly few and far between. But now for those looking for wind information across southern Washington and northern Oregon, you have a new resource.
The Bonneville Power Administration has launched a new online weather display that shows wind speed as graphical wind socks in 10-minute increments over the past three hours. Just hover over the sock and it'll give you the wind speed.
There are 14 stations ranging from the Megler Bridge in Astoria, Oregon to the Tri-Cities in southern Washington.
"The idea is to give our power managers who are trying to fold this power into the system a way to see at a glance what the wind especially is doing throughout the region," BPA spokesman Michael Milstein told me.
But it's also great for you at home wondering what it's doing along the coast, the Oregon Coastal Range, or along the Columbia River, both in the Gorge and farther east.
"It has really helped our power schedulers anticipate how the wind is going to ramp power generation up and down," Milstein said.
The agency has applied for a patent on the display and is getting interest from other utilities in using the technology, Milstein said.
You can find the display at go.usa.gov/OH2.
For those who have extreme interest in the map, they also have a video about their patent application and an interview with the engineer who developed it.
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