70.4 F
Los Angeles
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Come rain or shine

Vanessa Sahawi/ Roundup


As he looks up to the sun that shines brightly, he wipes perspiration from his head.

He kneels down and grabs the soil sensor that’s dug 20 millimeters deep underneath the ground, then checks his notebook and compares the temperatures from earlier.

Running back to the shack, he types in the calculations on his computer and instantly they are placed on the web for the world to see.

This is a typical Monday morning for Steve Woodruff, a certified weather observer and volunteer for the Los Angeles Pierce Colleges Weather Station. ?

Recently, the station has been awarded by Congressman Brad Sherman an $85,000 grant funded by the Global National Oceanographic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA).

The grant would be used to expand the station, install cameras for weather observations and to build in a new 20-foot tower.

Woodruff will be building and constructing the new tower that will be added into the station.

He is no stranger to this work since he built the automated system for the station in 1999.?

“Pierce’s weather station has improved due to new technologies which permit it to operate with little human intervention,” William Reid said, a storm chaser and certified weather observer at Van Nuys Airport.

Pierce’s station is one of the oldest weather stations in the nation, with countless data that dates back to over a century ago.

The weather station was founded by A. Lee Haines on July 1, 1949.

Thirty-seven years later, in 1986, the station was passed onto William Russell, the current director who works with Woodruff.

Woodruff became involved with the station after Professor Russell asked for volunteers and he was quick to jump on the opportunity.

The stations popularity comes from a mixture of old observational techniques and new modernized machinery. It’s known for its reliability and accuracy in data observations.

The data observations can be found on the weather stations website that was made by Woodruff in 1999.

“I created the website 11 years ago, having authored all its text and graphical content and desire to spread basic knowledge of some science behind atmospheric physics,” said Steve Woodruff. “I wanted everyone to be able to access the data and not have to call in and ask.”

The station has 10 minute updates that can be viewed on the data sheets.

The new grant money will allow for cameras to be built in the station.

It will be directly installed in the data system and pictures will be uploaded instantly for viewers to see. ??

The weather station is part of the “A” network, which is the basic climate network for the National Weather Society.

“The weather station is used to describe the climate of the United States,” said Dessa Emch, Data Acquisition and Surface Observing Program Manager. “The fact that Pierce College has held maximum and minimum air temperature extremes for the entire Los Angeles Basin, climate data is highly sought after by a variety of customers.”?

The station’s website enabled to have a following that ranged all over the world from Cairo, Michigan, Belgium, Germany, NASA.

The website has also become a helpful tool for the local community.

Farm workers and firefighters check the updates regularly to see how the weather may or may not affect their day.

“When accidents have occurred and somebody is hurt really badly or it could be fatal, we look up the weather data and put that information in the report,” said Officer Bledsoe From California Highway Patrol.

Woodruff is still in the process of trying to build a sign so visitors are able to find the location of the weather station without any hassle. ??

“Weather affects every person on the planet on a continuous basis- and directly affects mankind’s livelihood,” said Reid.  “One would be hard-pressed to argue that weather is of little importance.”

William H. Russell, the current director of the Pierce College Weather Station, poses with the station’s latest addition, which was paid for by a government grant. (Rick Rameriz / Roundup)

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