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Durango’s weather now from Durango

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

The National Weather Service point-and-click forecast map now is offering more representative data for the city of Durango.

An upgrade provides a more detailed observation database for current weather conditions, said Jim Pringle, a warning coordination meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s office in Grand Junction.

What it means is that when observers click on Durango or select Durango in the city-choice line, the information is from Durango, not the Durango-La Plata County Airport, which is more than 10 miles away.

The new observations, which began last week, are taken from an automated weather station owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation and located at U.S. highways 550 and 160 next to the DoubleTree Hotel.

Location-specific weather conditions are more important for mountainous areas than the plains because there tend to be many microclimates in the hills, Pringle said.

The Road Weather Information System at the DoubleTree intersection was installed in 1996, CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said Thursday. It provides winter weather information primarily for CDOT crews and motorists, she said.

A Road Weather System measures air temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, visibility and relative humidity. It also shows precipitation on the road surface and depth of snow or rain.

Information from the automated weather station is accessible to the public at www.cotrip.org. Click on “Latest Road Conditions” and drag the map to a desired location.

The Road Weather Information System is different from the Advanced Weather Observation Systems installed by the CDOT aeronautics branch at the Durango-La Plata County Airport, Shanks said.

People interested in weather conditions at the airport can click on “observations” on the National Weather Service point-and-click map and choose Durango.

The web address for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction is www.crh.noaa.gov/gjt.

daler@durangoherald.com

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