NOAA 2002-R239
Contact: Curtis Carey
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The next time a blizzard, rain, or wind storm blows through the South Bronx, or the air becomes unbearable for asthma sufferers, local youth can use a new interactive environmental monitoring center in their neighborhood to help answer: how much, how bad, and how fast.

In Hunts Point today, top officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) dedicated the José E. Serrano Environmental Discovery Center, a high-tech weather and air quality monitoring station, which captures a range of meteorological information that benefits everyone from local weather forecasters to asthma sufferers. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

“We think this interactive environmental monitoring center answers a need for more science education here,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, NOAA administrator. “We’re excited about the opportunities this center brings for youth in the Bronx,” he told an audience of students and area residents at The Point, a community center, where the station is based.

“Weather is a unique phenomenon,” Congressman Serrano said. “Through tragedy, it can bring a community together. Through its mystique, it can inspire a generation to conquer the scientific unknown. That’s the spirit we hope the new environmental monitoring center brings to young people in the South Bronx.“

The center is equipped with a computer lab and a scanning web camera, measures precipitation amounts, wind speed and helps detect carbon monoxide and ozone levels, which can impact asthma sufferers. Students in Bronx classrooms can see images of the skies from the camera, and work on projects using data from the center.

“This monitoring center gives us more than just the temperature. It gives youth in the Bronx opportunities to learn about local weather and climate and the factors that shape them both,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. Lautenbacher and Kelly traveled from Washington, D.C. to attend the ceremony.

Michael Wyllie, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Brookhaven, Long Island, which covers the Bronx, said, “Young people in the South Bronx live near water in one of the largest cities in the world. This is a great place to learn about the weather and environment. If given a chance, the next scientist that changes the way we live in the latter part of the 21st century, could come from the South Bronx.”

Wyllie added: “Now that our forecasters are getting weather information from Hunts Point, we don’t have to rely solely on reports from Central Park or La Guardia Airport to know the temperature.”

Paul Lipson, director of The Point said: “Our hope is to give kids of Hunts Point one more avenue from which to choose. The weather station and computer lab may be just the spark needed for some to pick a life-long, satisfying career.”

NOAA National 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 enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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