CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Just in time for what is predicted to be an active hurricane season, the Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science (CBI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi has expanded the Texas Coastal Ocean Observation Network (TCOON) to provide critical information that will be used to ensure the safety of residents living along the entire Texas Gulf Coast.
The recent expansion of the TCOON with five new monitoring stations increases the network to 30 stations and will enhance the data set used to support public safety decisions before, during, and after the passage of a hurricane or tropical storm. The instrumentation, which will collect information on water level, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, air temperature, and water temperature, will operate and transmit data every six minutes, even through storms and hurricanes.
“This information will help local, state, and federal agency officials make the best decisions regarding the flooding of evacuation routes, low lying areas, community infrastructure, and public safety,” said James Rizzo, CBI Assistant Director of Operations. “The data will also assist researchers from the National Ocean Service, the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center by providing accurate, federally-approved data used in water level and storm surge forecasting.”
The CBI is frequently called upon by local, state, and federal agencies to assist with hurricane response. TCOON stations located along the Texas Coast collect, process, and disseminate data to users through CBI web portal and to emergency responders immediately once processing is complete.
Rizzo added that the CBI recently developed specialized software that will allow the local National Weather Service Office to seamlessly integrate near real-time observations into its weather forecasting systems to better predict the effects of an incoming storm.
The new monitoring station have been installed approximately 15 feet above sea level to protect equipment from high-water events such as storm surge, which have historically damaged or destroyed data collection systems.
Since 1989, CBI has collected and provided real-time water level and meteorological information essential to managing coastal resources, while providing essential information used in forecasting high-water events along the Texas Coast. All TCOON data collection stations meet scientific guidelines established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS). The five new stations funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are located at High Island, Galveston Railroad Bridge, Matagorda City, Sargent, and Aransas Wildlife Refuge.
About the Conrad Blucher Institute: The Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) conducts innovative research and encourages scientists and professional engineers to develop and apply technology solutions relevant to surveying, scientific measurements, and to the issues in the Gulf of Mexico region. The Institute, which is home to the largest endowed GIS (Geographic information systems) institution in the United States, has achieved and maintains a national reputation for developing innovative geospatial science research and serves as a focused resource area for geospatial datasets relevant to the coastal environment.
About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Offering more than 60 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly-rated degree programs since 1947. The Island University has earned its spot as a premier doctoral-granting institution, supporting two institutes and 13 research centers and labs. Discover your island at http://www.tamucc.edu/.
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