×Station Locating

The first step in establishing such a network is developing and executing a strategy for proper and efficient weather station density and location. The goal is to capture a hurricane’s spatial variability and overall impact in the areas where an event is most likely and where it will have the greatest impact. This process utilizes a combination of coastal geography, hurricane climatology, hurricane physiology, and economics. That is, based on known quantities such as coastal complexity, favored historical paths, storm size and structure, and economic loss potential, an optimum location strategy is developed. The total of 100 weather stations for “phase 1” has dramatically improved depiction of tropical events along the coast of Florida and other eastern and gulf coast locations with the specific goal of concentrating on the most vulnerable regions from an economic/population density perspective.

Once general locations have been selected, specific sites are selected. The process takes many practical factors into account along with tropical meteorology. The meso-scale siting strategy is based in the profound structural changes that Hurricanes go through as they approach or cross the coast. Frictional decay has the most obvious direct impact, but in addition, the storm itself decays upon landfall as its energy source, latent heat (i.e. warm ocean water), no longer exists underneath the storm. The result is that in order to capture the actual surface wind fields of a land-falling storm, best practices advocate a siting strategy where most stations are placed very close to the coast but some alternating sites are slightly inland.