Permanent fix made for critical Matinicus Rock weather station
After repeatedly asking the federal government to repair the station which has been inoperable for two years, a permanent fix has been made for the critical Matinicus Rock weather station. Chellie announced Thursday morning that federal officials have restored a weather station on Matinicus Rock, which provides critical weather information for boats on Penobscot Bay. She had urged officials to repair the station, which hasn’t provided data for two years.
“Having this station down for so long has made an incredibly dangerous situation for those who operate boats in Penobscot Bay. If you were a fishermen leaving Rockland, you might not know what conditions you’d get out at the mouth of the bay. I’m relieved that NOAA has set up new equipment and I am glad the fix is permanent. Knowledge of changing weather conditions is critical to our coastal economy and we can’t let this kind of information gap happen again,” Chellie said.
Located on a lighthouse on uninhabited Matinicus Rock, the Coastal Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) station posts real-time weather and wind data online, a resource that local fishermen, ferry captains, and island communities have come to rely on. The station is maintained by NOAA--the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"We understand how vital this station is to the coastal community in Maine and we’re glad to be able to work with Congresswoman Pingree to get it back up and running," said Kathleen O'Neil, Deputy Director of NOAA's National Data Buoy Center.
Chellie first wrote to NOAA in December 2009 after hearing from local fishermen that the station was down and has since kept the pressure on federal officials to make the repairs. NOAA made a temporary fix in March 2010, but due to a severe storm, the station quickly went down again. When it became clear that a permanent fix was needed, she worked to speed up the process and encouraged NOAA to be creative in overcoming obstacles.
“For the Mainers who live on the islands and those who make their living on the water, the lack of weather data is a serious safety and economic issue. As we develop offshore wind, too, the data these stations provide will become even more important. Getting our critical ocean observing infrastructure back online when they go down should be a priority," said Chellie.
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