Cantwell Applauds NOAA Plan to Upgrade Weather Forecasting Technology

Improved supercomputers will enable more accurate and timely weather tracking

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) announcement that it plans to significantly upgrade its weather forecasting technology to improve the nation’s weather and storm tracking.

Cray Inc., a Seattle company, will serve as a subcontractor to IBM in the project to increase the capacity of two National Weather Service supercomputers by nearly tenfold. Supercomputers are used to perform more detailed and accurate weather data analyses.

 “This investment will ensure Americans have the best supercomputing technology available to track and identify severe weather systems and help protect lives and property,” said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Millions of Americans depend on accurate and timely weather information. I’m pleased to see NOAA follow through with this important upgrade to its weather forecasting capabilities.”

 In a 2013 confirmation hearing for Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Cantwell secured a commitment from then-nominee Pritzker to update the nation’s weather forecasting technology in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and ensure America is a more “weather-ready nation.”

 Cantwell has led the effort to improve weather forecasting in the Pacific Northwest. She spearheaded the successful push to get Washington state’s first coastal Doppler Radar in 2011. The state-of-the-art Doppler radar is positioned west of the Olympic Mountains to improve the detection of severe storms approaching Washington’s coast and is the first fully operational Doppler radar in the nation to be equipped with dual polarization, the latest enhancement in radar technology for civilian weather forecasting.