Meteorologists assist ADOT in responding to extreme weather

By, Arizona Department of Transportation

As last week’s monster winter storm approached, leaders from the Arizona Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service watched conditions on traffic cameras along state highways and discussed how best to stage equipment and personnel while getting critical information to drivers.

A collaboration between the agencies that grew out of this storm will have a National Weather Service meteorologist stationed at ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center when significant storms threaten, sharing forecasts and helping inform decisions on where snowplows and other resources are needed most.

“This is a natural pairing of two agencies working together in the public’s interest,” said Brent Cain, director of ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management & Operations Division. “This will allow us to get information quickly about approaching weather so we can prepare to clear roads and advise the public even before the storms arrive.”

“We were talking about how we could work together to prepare for storms, and get the best information to drivers as quickly as possible, and the idea of collaborating just fell into place,” said Ken Waters, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Phoenix.

The collaboration also will help ADOT public information officers provide critical information about how weather may affect travel along specific routes and what drivers can do about it, including delaying travel until the worst has passed.

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