Guadalupe Mountains (Photo: WFO Midland)
(Sept. 21, 2011) -- The Guadalupe Mountains, a narrow and abrupt mountain range that rises from the Chihuahuan Desert, is famous among outdoor enthusiasts for its extreme winds. Many Guadalupe Mountains National Park tourists, unfamiliar with the extreme variability of weather that occurs across the park, risk being caught off-guard by dangerous winds and are susceptible to impending weather hazards.
To help reduce the risk to visitors, two National Weather Service meteorologists conceived the idea of installing an interactive weather kiosk in the park's visitor center. Previously, Lubbock Forecaster Todd Lindley and Midland Forecaster Cody Lindsey conducted research designed to improve high wind forecasts and warnings for the park based on the identification of mountain wave signatures in high-resolution forecast computer models.
Over time, discussions with Texas Tech University's West Texas Mesonet Operations Manager Wes Burgett and park service officials led to the installation of a research-caliber weather station and a 19 inch interactive touch screen kiosk at the center. Using integrated mesonet data, the kiosk allows visitors to access critical, up-to-the-minute weather information.
In addition to Lindley, Lindsey and Burgett, a number of National Weather Service employees from the Lubbock and Midland offices made valuable contributions to the project. They include Wayne Patterson, John Holsenbeck, Gary Skwira, Mark Condor, Joe Jurecka and Marsha Black.
"We have frequently seen wind speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour at the base of the mountains," noted Midland Warning Coordination Meteorologist Pat Vesper. "The collaborative work that brought the National Weather Service, National Park Service and the West Texas Mesonet together for this project is a great service in the interest of public safety in Guadalupe Mountains National Park."
BACK: SRH News