Broken weather sensor reports 100-plus degree temperatures on St. Croix
Published: September 18, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Hot enough for you?
As it turns out, it may not be as hot outside as you think. It all depends on where you get your information.
If you've taken a peek at your smart phone's weather app at some point since Friday, you may have seen some temperatures reported for St. Croix that seemed more normal for the Sahara than the Caribbean, with temperatures rising at one point above 110 degrees.
That, according to the National Weather Service, is erroneous.
A sensor on the National Weather Service weather station at Rohlsen Airport is malfunctioning, said Odalys Martinez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.
"Sensors sometimes just fail," she said Tuesday night. "We have plans to go to St. Croix and change the sensor."
For the time being, the temperatures that are being reported are sometimes in sync with actual conditions and sometimes not.
Martinez said that the sensor can be reset, but unless the resetting is done constantly throughout the day, the reported temperature soars far above the actual air temperature.
Meteorologists first became aware of the issue last week - on Friday the 13th, she said. They have put in a request for technicians to travel to St. Croix and fix the problem.
Meanwhile, the high temperatures for the day reported by the Weather Service have been extraordinarily high.
The malfunctioning sensor erroneously reported a high temperature Friday of 107 degrees, a high Saturday of 112 degrees, a high Sunday of 108 degrees, a high Monday of 105 degrees and a high on Tuesday of 104, according to Martinez. The actual high temperatures for those days, taken from other weather stations on St. Croix, ranged from 88 to 90 degrees, Martinez said.
The erroneous high temperatures sparked plenty of chatter on social media. At least one other weather website that apparently extrapolates data from the National Weather Service for its forecasts had erroneously predicted that high temperatures on the island would hover near 104 for much of the rest of the week.
They won't, though, according to Martinez.
She did not know when the technician will travel to St. Croix to fix the problem, but said it would be soon.
Martinez said the National Weather Service is not using the data reported by the faulty sensor when recording climate data. Instead, temperatures for those days were reported as missing.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.