The Salt River Project (SRP) is playing a role in forecasting Arizona’s monsoon season with plans to launch weather balloons in the Valley to help in forecasting future monsoons.
A team of meteorologists from the National Weather Service and SRP, during the monsoon season, will launch balloons twice a day with an attached weather-measuring instrument called a radiosonde.
According to Bo Svoma from SRP, it measures pressure, temperature, and humidity, along with wind speed and direction. The balloon can go as high as 60,000 to 70,000 feet!
Data from a weather balloon launch helps meteorologists determine if the atmosphere will favor storms or dry weather.
The measurement tool is a great resource for SRP, as it serves as a planning tool. “It allows for better preparedness for responding to power outages, for staffing, and other aspects of efficient power supply,” Svoma said.
The data collected also helps bridge a gap in Arizona since other balloon launching sites are hundreds of miles away in Flagstaff and Tucson, allowing meteorologists in the Valley to adjust their forecast, including for storm chances.
The balloon launches in the Valley is tentatively scheduled to end mid-September, but SRP says that special balloon launches can happen on certain occasions.