Schumer, Gillibrand call for $3M upgrade to NY's weather forecasting system in face of climate change

Gillibrand and Schumer
Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The devastating impacts of Ida are proof that New York’s severe weather data system needs an upgrade to be better prepared for climate change, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said Sunday.

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Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are calling for $3 million in federal funding to be allocated toward upgrading the 126 observation stations across, New York, to improve local forecasting abilities. The funding would be part of a $30 million budget package the pols support to bring similar upgrades to forecasting systems across the country.

“We need more observation stations; we need to beef up the tech of the current stations and we want these stations to reach higher into the sky — as well as fill in coverage gaps,” Schumer said at a news conference. “This investment will do all four of those things and make our weather forecasting even better.”

More than 50 people died in the Northeast region — including 13 in New York City — after the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought historic levels of rain and flooding earlier in August.

Residents sort through damaged and destroyed items after a night of heavy rain and wind caused many homes to flood on September 2, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City
Residents sort through damaged and destroyed items after a night of heavy rain and wind caused many homes to flood on September 2, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought intense storms to much of the Northeast, causing city, as well as New York and New Jersey officials to declare a state emergency. Photo credit Scott Heins/Getty Images

Climate change is making weather forecasting more and more difficult, according to Schumer. The funding would bring more advanced, real-time storm tracking equipment to the state’s stations, known collectively as the Masonet system, which is run by the University of Albany.

“Our technological capacity has to keep pace with the needs of global climate change. So these ideas that we’re putting forward will allow people to plan; to have local emergency precautions put in place in advance — and that will make the difference between life and death for many New Yorkers and many Americans.”