NOAA 2002-100
Contact: Curtis Carey
NOAA News Releases 2002
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More than 6,000 Schools in Network to Help Protect Lives and Property

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service and AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. today unveiled a major new public-private partnership that will bolster the government's ability to respond to a homeland security event and protect lives and property. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

If a homeland security incident takes place involving airborne hazardous materials, NOAA Weather Service will now pull in real-time weather data from the AWS WeatherNet network to provide very precise forecast models that government agencies, the military and emergency managers can use to make critical decisions. The AWS WeatherNet network, established in 1993, is a highly dense, nationwide commercial weather network that includes more than 6,000 automated weather station locations based primarily at schools.

The partnership announced today will particularly aid response in major metropolitan areas, where AWS has a high concentration of weather monitoring stations in its WeatherNet network. In a homeland security event, such as a bio-terrorist or chemical attack, NOAA Weather Service will now be prepared to assess local weather conditions, such as surface wind speeds and temperatures which could spread airborne hazardous materials and affect nearby communities, more quickly and more precisely

"AWS stepped up to the plate in response to President Bush's call for American companies to support homeland security," said Jack Kelly, director of NOAA Weather Service. "This agreement is a great example of the public-private partnerships so vital to our mission of providing data on an immediate basis for critical decisions and forecasts that help protect lives and property. We are working together to save lives," he added.

Weather information has long played a pivotal role in the government's ability to respond to major disasters. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, multiple mobile weather stations were installed near Ground Zero which NOAA Weather Service used to provide rescue workers with more precise wind forecast models that helped them predict the direction smoke would spread and adjust their response accordingly. AWS has more than forty weather stations in the area, the closest of which is just a half mile from the site. During this incident, access to the AWS weather stations would have complemented the government's ability to respond.

Bob Marshall, CEO of AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. said, "We are pleased to be working closely with NOAA Weather Service on this important initiative. The unique value and quality of highly localized, up-to-the-second weather information provided by the AWS WeatherNet network is critical for Homeland Security and emergency response applications. This effort is one in which schools and broadcasters who are members of the AWS WeatherNet network can be proud to be involved and support."

AWS currently uses NOAA Weather Service data along with data obtained through their own weather sensor network to distribute NOAA Weather Service forecasts and storm/weather warnings to nearly 12 million users. More than 100 local TV stations integrate local weather data from the AWS network into their forecast reports.

NOAA Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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Information about AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. is available at