SRP launching weather balloons to assist with monsoon coverage

SRP weather Balloon
Posted at 4:41 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 21:29:35-04

The Salt River Project is once again launching weather balloons in the Valley to help in forecasting Arizona's monsoon.

Twice a day during the monsoon, meteorologists from the National Weather Service and SRP launch balloons 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!

SRP Balloon

Data from a weather balloon launch may look like a bunch of lines, but it helps meteorologists determine if the atmosphere will favor storms or dry weather.

For SRP, it helps with planning too. "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 typically end in mid-September, but SRP says that special balloon launches can happen on certain occasions.