As the peak of the spring and summer storm season approaches, AmerenUE announced today that it has begun expanding Quantum Weather™―a highly-precise new weather monitoring and forecasting system—to southeast Missouri. The detailed information provided by this system is intended to help UE prepare, respond, and restore power more quickly when damaging storms strike.
Through a partnership between UE and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Saint Louis University (SLU), Quantum Weather feeds detailed, near real-time information over UE radio communications systems to central computers at SLU. Using computer models and analytical tools developed by SLU researchers, the system produces highly detailed maps of weather activity that may affect communities across UE’s service area.
Plans call for Quantum Weather to eventually include a network of up to 100 weather stations mounted on existing UE poles and deployed in key locations throughout the company’s service area to measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall rates. The stations are solar-powered, with a battery that stores power during the day and keeps them operating at night and on cloudy days.
More than 65 of these stations have been installed since the program began in 2008—primarily in the St. Louis metropolitan area—and in recent weeks one has been installed in Cape Girardeau.
Quantum Weather is part of UE’s “Project Power On,” a $1 billion multi-year initiative launched in 2007 to improve system reliability as well as enhance the environmental performance of UE power plants.
David N. Wakeman, AmerenUE manager, Distribution Operating, says that although the network of weather stations still isn’t complete, the system has already provided benefits.
“Quantum Weather provided valuable information that helped us prepare for this year’s devastating January ice storm,” Wakeman says. “Data from stations throughout the state helped us pinpoint what areas would be hardest hit, enabling us to mobilize our resources more effectively. Preparations included moving crews and materials to the area in advance of the storm, and making logistical arrangements to accommodate those crews.”
Wakeman adds that preparations also included moving three of UE’s specially-equipped “storm trailers” to strategic locations. Each of these 55-foot trailers is stocked with more $100,000 worth of materials commonly needed to repair equipment damaged by storms.
With 1.2 million customers, UE is Missouri’s largest electric company and third largest distributor of natural gas. Ameren, through its operating subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
For more information about Project Power On and Quantum Weather, visit www.ameren.com/poweron.
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CONTACT: Mike Cleary, 573.681.7137, of AmerenUE