Why Are We Doing This?
While watching the Camp Fire start and grow, it was immediately apparent that the winds in the canyon near Pulga, CA were far greater than what had been forecasted. Our parent company has conducted helicopter operations up and down that canyon for years and knew how strong the winds could be in those fire start locations while remaining relatively calm in other nearby areas. With the nearest weather station approximately 5 miles away at the time, there was no way for PG&E to know this wind event was happening in that canyon.
The Impact to Our Parent Company
The Camp Fire really hit home for us. Our employees, friends, families and customers lost their homes to the fire. The aftermath still continues to impact our local community and likely will for years to come. This made it personal.
The problem, as we saw it, was that the current method of predicting winds based on models and data from weather stations tens of miles apart was not good enough. The wind needs to be measured where it matters most; at the pole, flowing with the terrain and at least every ½ mile.
This is why we created WeatherNode. There was no solution we knew of that could provide the data density necessary to properly address this massive problem at hand.