Wahpeton should once again be on the map — the weather forecast map, that is.
Harry Stern Airport has completed repairs to its Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS), which gather high-quality temperature and other weather condition information. The information allows the Twin Towns Area to be included by meteorological and news outlets as part of the regional weather map.
“The system’s been repaired. Now we’re seeing if the repairs work. If they do, we’ll be able to monitor our temperature again and everyone should be happy,” said North Dakota state Rep. Cynthia Schreiber-Beck, R-District 25.
Prior to the repairs, Harry Stern Airport had received numerous calls regarding the AWOS. Most of the of the AWOS functioned, but not all of the people who could benefit from the information were able to.
Kyle Wanner is executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. In correspondence with Schreiber-Beck, he elaborated on the purpose of the AWOS equipment.
“(It is) to provide for the safety of our aviators and the flying public by providing real-time weather to help with their flights into and out of Wahpeton and other airports within North Dakota. Non-aviators that utilize the information are granted a benefit from the aviation community, but their ability to receive the information is secondary to the purpose of the AWOS installation,” Wanner wrote.
Although public awareness is a secondary goal when an AWOS is at full effectiveness, it still is a priority for Schreiber-Beck.
“We want people to be educated, to know ‘Here’s what it really is.’ It’s not really a good thing for Wahpeton if the people don’t have the weather information,” she said.
In other news, Harry Stern Airport has mostly completed repairs to its ramp. An airport official estimated that approximately 90 percent of the project was completed as of Thursday, Oct. 7.
The $1.6 million project was funded 97 percent by the Federal Aviation Administration and 3 percent locally. The local cost was approximately $55,000, with Harry Stern Airport reporting that the project came in under budget.