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2023 News Archive

NAU International Pavilion

The environmental monitoring system is mounted on top of NAU's LEED Platinum certified building.

Northern Arizona University’s Green Fund granted funding for a Pulsar 800 Weather Station and Orion Air Quality Monitoring Complete station for climate research, sustainability measures, and campus safety.

The student-led project proposal outlined how an on-campus environmental monitoring station would benefit both the university and the greater Flagstaff community.

Get the full story in our new application note here.

Large chemical fire plume

An explosion triggered a large fire at a chemical plant in Shepherd, Texas, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky.

HazMat vehicle at the scene of the chemical plant fire

The Woodlands HazMat vehicle is equipped with an Orion weather station and plume modeling software.

HazMat unit equipped with weather station, plume modeling responds to chemical plant fire

Recently, an explosion triggered a large fire at a chemical plant in Shepherd, Texas, sending massive plumes of black smoke into the sky. Authorities said flammable liquids, diesel, turpentine, and other toxic chemicals were involved in the fire.

Multiple agencies responded including The Woodlands HazMat unit with their Orion Weather Station connected to CERES plume modeling software. Roads were closed and power outages were reported.

Local residents were issued a shelter-in-place order being advised to turn off their HVAC, some schools were evacuated, and busses re-routed in San Jacinto and Polk counties. Only one person was reported injured.

The Woodlands HazMat vehicle is from Pierce through the Siddons-Martin Emergency Group who provided the photo of the rig.

Pierce Manufacturing Vehicle Specs

Orion Weather Station

CERES Plume Modeling Information

Solar 1 weather monitoring system with Orion sensor module and weatherproof enclosure

Florida's Eglin Air Force Base is subject to harsh weather conditions that can make it dangerous to work outside. Radar operations can also be subject to atmospheric interference.

Read how acquiring a Pulsar weather station and Wet Bulb Globe temperature sensor was Eglin's environmental monitoring solution at the link below:

Radar Operations Application Note

Solar 1 weather monitoring system with Orion sensor module and weatherproof enclosure

Solar 1 weather monitoring system with Orion sensor module and weatherproof enclosure.

Weather Stations for Solar Energy Projects

Zort Services Technical Advisor Craig McCann took over operations at an existing solar energy site that utilized Solar 1 Orion weather stations. He explains, “The customer already owned several of these weather stations. I purchased additional to create standardized implementation.” The weather data is used to meet ISO requirements for MET data.

“I would recommend these products,” Craig adds. He lists some reasons: “High quality. In addition to providing an easy to work with interface, the MicroServer product allows for polling by multiple clients using various protocols. The webserver/webpage function makes setup and commissioning straightforward.”

Long Beach Fire Department Mobile Command Center with Magellan MX500 Weather Station

Long Beach Fire Department Mobile Command Center with Magellan MX500

Another great-looking mobile command center from LDV. Built for the Long Beach Fire Department in California, a Magellan MX500 Weather Station can be seen mounted on the front of the vehicle. A panel mount Weather Display on an interior wall allows first responders to easily monitor current weather conditions.

Photo credit: LDV, Inc.

Magellan MX Vehicle Mount Weather Stations

Business people walking

Honeywell implemented Wet Bulb Globe Temperature monitoring to prevent heat-related illness during outdoor training for the Kansas City National Security Campus.

Wet Bulb Globe Temp Information Page

Worker health and safety are of prime concern when you manage a facility for the 7,000 people who work at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC). According to its website, “The KCNSC is a LEED Gold, multi-mission facility using the latest technologies and innovations in engineering, manufacturing and sourcing to fulfill our core mission: ensure the safety, security and reliability of our nation’s nuclear deterrent.” The facility is managed by Honeywell, a long-time customer of Columbia Weather Systems.

To help prevent workplace injury and heat-related illness during outdoor training activities, Honeywell implemented environmental monitoring with a Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) system purchased from Columbia Weather Systems. They also developed guidelines on when to cease outdoor training activities to ensure inclement weather hazards do not result in personal injury.

The system at KCNSC includes a Black Globe Temperature Sensor, Humidity and Ambient Temperature sensors in a self-aspirating radiation shield. Measurements are calculated and read from a standalone Weather Display for network security. Alarms can be set based on measured parameters.

Ceylex solar panels at a plant in Sri Lanka

Automation Werx installed an Orion 420 weather station for their building automation project.

Automation Werx Full Case Study

4-20 mA Weather Station Info

When Automation Werx was on the search for ruggedized weather monitoring equipment to interface with their PLC, they chose an Orion 420 weather station from Columbia Weather. “We came across the Orion Weather Station and saw a perfect fit,” commented Owner/Automation & Controls Project Manager Trevor Steffler.

“With its capabilities of producing 4-20mA Signals to provide instant weather feedback, we would be able to have our PLC controls react instantly. Simple installation and availability were also key factors.”

“Having weather data allowed us to control dairy building fan intake and exhaust systems based upon outdoor weather considerations. The ease of use, simple installation, and ruggedized hardware are second to none. Our units have been installed for many years, and we expect them to continue to provide good reliable service for years to come. It is a perfect fit when integrating with PLCs.

Ceylex solar panels at a plant in Sri Lanka

Ceylex Renewables utilizes Solar 3 weather stations for resource assessment and performance monitoring of solar PV power plants in Sri Lanka

Ceylex Renewables is an individual renewable energy producing company based in Sri Lanka. CWS Solar 3 Weather Stations are installed at two of their solar power plants. Assistant Electrical Engineer, Chalitha Senevirathna reports, “We required your weather monitoring systems for the resource assessment and performance monitoring of our solar PV power plants."

“For our requirement, we reached out to a few companies," Chalitha continued. "However, Columbia Weather Systems is the one who responded to our inquiry promptly and was very supportive and responsive. Furthermore, Columbia Weather Systems was able to provide us with a solution tailored to our specific requirements.”

Read Full Solar Energy Case Study

Solar 3 Weather Station Information

The Weather Lab with Magellan MX600 Weather Station at an event in Vermont.

The Weather Lab with Magellan MX600 Weather Station at an event in Vermont

We love seeing our equipment in action! Along with reporting weather in Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks, the My NBC5 weather team takes the time to visit schools and community events in their First Warning Weather Lab.

The vehicle sports a Magellan MX600 mounted on the roof, allowing meteorologists to track real-time wind speed/direction, temperature, pressure, relative humidity, and rainfall with an internal compass and GPS for automatic wind direction alignment.

Thanks to NBC5 Chief Meteorologist Tyler Jankoski for the fantastic pictures!

Have photos of your CWS weather station application you'd like to share? Email

Magellan MX Weather Stations

1999 Columbia Weather Systems Newsletter

Our 1999 CWS ReCap Newsletter showcased the Westmont Mobile Command Center.

New Mobile Command with Magellan MX Vehicle-Mount Weather Station

Westmont's new mobile unit featuring a Magellan MX500 weather station (seen mounted on roof).

The Westmont, IL fire department has been a loyal customer for over 25 years! Back in 1999, our CWS ReCap Newsletter showcased their Command and Communications vehicle, complete with the (since retired) Capricorn II weather station.

In an excerpt from the newsletter, Fire Chief Frank Trout says: "If there is a hazardous materials incident, or a fire, or EMS incident, we send our van to it becomes the mobile communications point.

"When we're outside fighting fires or hazmat or whatever it may be, it's good to know wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity . . . Monitoring the weather is not so much a regulation, it's a professional thing to do."

Westmont Fire continues to rely on professional weather equipment for their emergency operations.

As weather technology has evolved over the years, they've kept their equipment up to date.

Their most recent addition is a state-of-the-art mobile command center from LDV. "We now have a brand-new vehicle with a CWS (weather station) also installed in it and we enjoy the new capabilities of this new vehicle," current Deputy Director David Lincoln commented. The rig features a Magellan MX500 Weather Station with Weather Master Software and a Weather Display Console.

25 years later, monitoring hyper-local #weatherdata is still not only a “professional thing to do,” but a critical aspect of safe and effective incident response.

Thanks to LDV for the "then" and "now" photos!

Magellan MX Information Page

5 Reasons Why Incident Response Needs a Weather Station

Construction workers

The new alarms feature allows supervisors to make quick decisions in the field for crew safety.

A hurricane from space

Set custom alarms to trigger instant alerts via email and push notification.

Do high temperatures or high winds or other weather conditions impact the safety of your work crew or equipment?

To help monitor personnel safety, the City of Calgary uses Columbia Weather Systems’ Cloud Weather Server to observe meteorological parameters from three Orion Weather Stations. Their operations react to high winds and they requested an alarm feature for notification.

All users can now receive instant email alerts or phone notifications when alarm conditions are reached with the new version of the Cloud Weather Server. With important real-time met data, supervisors or crew members can make quick decisions in the field.

Alarms can be set for any measured or calculated parameter for upper, lower, or range limits. For example, in Oregon OSHA permanent rules for heat illness prevention, requirements for high heat practices kick in when the heat index reaches 90 degrees with increased communication and rest requirements for outdoor workers. Other applications include high wind parameters for crane operations or freezing temperatures for dispatch.

The Cloud Weather Server is included with the Weather MicroServer monitoring option available with any met station model from Columbia Weather Systems..

Weather Server Alarms User Guide

Weather MicroServer Page

A hurricane from space

A hurricane viewed from space.

June marks the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and we're throwing it back to our 2005 ReCap newsletter article by our resident meteorologist at the time, John Gerrish. John detailed how hurricanes are formed and tracked. He writes:

"Hurricanes are the most dynamic and destructive of all atmospheric storms . . . We cannot stop hurricanes, so we must learn to get out of their way. Advanced warning is the most crucial part of the mitigation process, and learning more about these dynamic forces helps us to better understand and contend with nature’s most devastating storms."

The details are just as relevant now as they were then. Click below to read the full article:

Hurricanes 101 Article

a hand holding pea-sized hail

Thunderstorms in our area dropped pea-sized hail several days in a row.

Spring thunderstorms recently rolled through, dropping pea-sized hail that the office Orion Weather Station reported. The Orion Weather Station can detect hail/hail intensity and the Pulsar 100 model differentiates sleet, freezing rain, and hail.

This MicroServer screenshot shows hail data from the Orion Weather Station at the office.

This MicroServer screenshot shows hail data from the Orion Weather Station at the office.

C.W. Price employees with installed weather monitoring equipment

Kelvin and Patrick after installing the equipment.

A handful of companies have been customers of Columbia Weather Systems since the very beginning.

We highlight one of those with a recent communication from Kelvin Price of C.W. Price & Company in South Africa in our latest application story. Here's an excerpt:

"The big problem here was induced surges due to lightning that was severely damaging equipment. We then introduced the Airforce to Columbia FLX Modular Weather Station with ethernet wifi bridge wireless technology which solved some of the lightning surge problems, this was successfully adopted as their national standard . . .

"CWS and staff have always been available and most accommodating to whatever queries that we may have from heavy technical to firmware updates either online or offline."

Read the full note here.

Pasadena Police's mobile command center with weather station mounted to the side.

Magellan MX500 Weather Station mounted on Pasadena Police's Mobile Command Center. (​Photo courtesy of LDV)

Magellan MX VM Weather Stations

Complete with a Magellan MX500™ Weather Station and panel-mount Weather Display, the Pasadena Police department is well equipped for emergency situations with their impressive new mobile command center built by LDV.

The Magellan MX all-in-one sensor module incorporates compass and GPS for critical weather monitoring with automatic wind direction alignment and compensated wind speed.

Additional features include ultrasonic wind sensors, temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. Alternate sensors include rainfall and solar radiation.

In this new video, Alex Pulido gives an overview of how the Weather MicroServer works.

With the ability to interface to any of our weather station models, the Weather MicroServer is a powerful communication device lets users access real-time met data from anywhere in the world.

Weather MicroServer Information Page

Storm Tracker Jeep with Magellan MX600 Weather Station on roof

Storm Tracker Jeep with Magellan MX600 Weather Station. (Photo Credit: KSHB 41)

Kansas City's KSHB 41 Storm Tracker Jeep in action! A Magellan MX600 Weather Station mounted on the roof provides meteorologists with real-time data which is viewed via Weather Display console inside the vehicle.

The Magellan MX™ line is a popular choice for mobile weather monitoring applications with its internal compass and GPS with automatic and compensated wind measurements.

Magellan MX Weather Stations Page

CERES gas plume software map showing weather data.

CERES gas plume dispersion modeling software showing live weather data from an Orion weather station.

Weather Station mounted on Woodlands, TX Hazmat truck

A recent training created a Sensor Driven-Plume Scenario with CERES where the data acquisition system was connected to a CWS weather station installed on the local Fire Department’s HAZMAT truck in The Woodlands, Texas. The vehicle was purchased through Siddons-Martin Emergency Group

A gas plume in the CERE software modeled using weather data from Orion Weather Station.

Gas plume in the CERES software is modeled using weather data.

Vlahi Systems Website

Siddons-Martin Emergency Website

Met Data from CWS Weather Stations Integrates “Seamlessly” Into Vlahi's CERES Plume Modeling Software

Columbia Weather Systems, a global supplier of weather stations to industry and government agencies, announces a partnership with Vlahi Systems, developer of CERES gas plume dispersion modeling software.

CERES (Chemical Emergency Response E-Service) is a collaborative application for chemical release event modeling, threat assessment, situational awareness, and protective action decision support.

“Accurate weather information is essential in any emergency response situation, but it is especially critical when dealing with hazardous material incidents. Integrating local live weather data with plume dispersion modeling and gas detectors can greatly enhance the ability to respond effectively and protect the public from harm,” says Cristian Stochina Streinescu, Founder and Managing Partner of Vlahi Systems.

Using the Weather MicroServer interface, data from any Columbia Weather Systems weather station can be incorporated easily into CERES to provide hyper-local met data for plume modeling and environmental awareness. Cristian adds, “The met station is very easy to connect to. It has an SAM station (ALOHA) output and CERES can be feed directly from that.”

“The Weather MicroServer interfaces with CERES software using Modbus TCP/IP interface. This makes the software compatible with all of our weather station models with a seamless interface,” explains Nader Khoury, President of Columbia Weather Systems. “The customer can then choose the system and configuration that best suits their needs.”

CERES free version offers access to ALOHA chemical dispersion model and to all ERG Guide 2020 emergency response distances in a Google Map environment. CERES PRO integrates live meteorological data, gas and radiation sensors data, live traffic, GIS data, emission sources and sensitive receptors, phone locations and fleet tracking devices with advanced government vetted models and guides. Special sensor driven algorithms are used for release source location identification and release rate estimation, to prepare for, respond to, and analyze chemical release, fire, or explosion events – anywhere – any time – on any device including an offline mode with automatic data synchronization for when internet connectivity is restored.

These features will be greatly beneficial to CWS weather station customers in the public safety market.

Nader, Mikko, and Hannu stand by a Columbia Weather Systems sign

(L-R) Nader with Mikko and Hannu from Vaisala

Software Developer Brian Smucker with wife Twila at the CWS Anniversary Dinner

Software Developer Brian Smucker with wife Twila at the CWS Anniversary Dinner

It’s been a busy and productive past week at Columbia Weather. Yesterday, Vaisala's Product Line Manager Mikko Krapu and R&D Project Manager Hannu Valo all the way from Finland visited the office to discuss the latest developments in meteorological technology.

Our remote software development team Brian and Gilbert also met with us last weekend from Idaho and joined us for our 25th Anniversary Dinner.

We stay committed to improving and providing high quality weather monitoring equipment to meet the needs of our customers, and we couldn’t do it without a fantastic team of partners who help make it all happen!

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