Below article appeared in USA Today
11/27/2001 – Updated 10:08 AM ET
Sensors keep close watch on Ground Zero weather
By Chris Vaccaro, USATODAY.com
“The two main concerns are wind and rain,” says Shawn Nolan, meteorologist with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management.
Rain can make it dangerously slippery for the crews and winds faster than 35 mph could shut down cranes, Nolan says.
Eight stations around Ground Zero have been placed at elevations ranging from 8 feet at the West Command Center to about 200 feet on the roof of the Federal Office Building.
Winds generally encounter less resistance at higher elevations – where the top of the cranes are located – and can blow at faster speeds.
Nolan says local wind effects at the ground are also a concern. A 10 to 20 mph wind recorded at the National Weather Service station in Central Park could mean gusts to nearly 50 mph in lower Manhattan as the wind is funneled between buildings.
The Ground Zero stations also instantaneously record the humidity, dew point and air pressure and calculate wind chill and heat index values, says station technician Nick Stefano.
“Data is archived every minute and can be shown as graphs and charts to show trends or to summarize the daily and monthly conditions,” says Stefano.
In the past, similar instruments have been used to monitor weather conditions during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and during an implosion of two gasoline storage tanks in Queens.
Rainfall has been scarce in New York since the September 11th attacks and while that has allowed a drought to develop it has also meant “fantastic weather for working conditions,” says Nolan.
But throughout winter, snow could become another safety hazard by making pavement icy or creating a white veil that hides debris.
Last winter delivered 7 inches of snow more than the average 28 inches that typically falls in New York. Nolan hopes this winter’s storms stay with just rain.
Actual article in USA Today