April 8, 2008. New Smyrna Beach, FL.
WeatherFlow, a leading provider of weather observation data and forecasting models, today announced it has completed the first phase of installing hurricane-hardened weather stations throughout Florida. WeatherFlow is working in partnership with several government, research and business entities to better capture information on extreme wind events. Over the past few months the company has installed over 50 weather stations in Florida, largely in the coastal regions and around Orlando. While the stations capture weather data year round, they have a unique ability to survive and accurately record weather data during tropical storms and hurricanes.
“Strengthening our network of stations to ensure we capture hurricane data has been a longtime goal,” said WeatherFlow CEO Buck Lyons. “By securing funding and other resources from multiple stakeholders we have been able to apply the right technology to the project.” According to Mr. Lyons the weather stations were custom designed to withstand winds of over 140 mph and are not dependent on electrical or phone lines for recording and communicating data. Most stations are installed on concrete poles 10-15 meters high.
Initial stakeholders in the project include a consortium of Florida utilities, the University of Florida, the National Weather Service, several Florida municipalities and Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the leading hurricane risk modeling firm.
University of Florida civil and coastal engineering professor Kurt Gurley explained that the data will help his research efforts and those of other stakeholders. “The power companies have contributed both station sites and funding to the project,” said Gurley. “They will use the data to put science behind their efforts to reduce power outages during hurricanes. Various local officials will benefit long-term from better understanding the weather because the data can be used to help set building codes.”
Risk Management Solutions has agreed to aid WeatherFlow in licensing weather data to insurers and reinsures. “The WeatherFlow Hurricane Network will provide extremely valuable data to the insurance industry, which in the long run will fuel new products that benefit Florida residents and businesses,” said Peter Nakada, managing director of RMS Consulting. “Our firm was already considering building hardened weather stations when we were approached by WeatherFlow. We grasped the opportunity to obtain the data while also supporting such a worthwhile project, and believe others in the insurance industry will value the information and recognize a chance to contribute.” Bermuda-based Renaissance Re has already agreed to license data and WeatherFlow is optimistic that others will follow.
Mr. Gurley’s vision is to have a station every five miles along the coast and additional stations inland. He says “For extreme weather events, there’s no such thing as too much information”.
WeatherFlow Inc. owns and operates a network of over 350 proprietary weather stations. The company’s largely coastal observing system gathers weather data which fuels both primary applications and its WRAMS mesoscale forecasting model. WeatherFlow serves a broad array of clients in business and government, and also maintains information services for sailors and other watersports enthusiasts. For more information visit www.weatherflow.com.
Risk Management Solutions is the world’s leading provider of products and services for catastrophe risk management. More than 400 leading insurers, reinsurers, trading companies, and other financial institutions rely on RMS models to quantify, manage, and transfer risk. Founded at Stanford University in 1988, RMS serves clients today from offices in the U.S., Bermuda, the U.K., France, Switzerland, India, and Japan. For more information, visit our website at www.rms.com