The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said this week that winter weather has required that the installation of Methow Valley State Airport’s new weather-reporting system be postponed.
WSDOT now plans to install the Automated Weather Observing System in late spring. The delay is not expected to add any extra costs to the installation process, WSDOT said.
When the system is installed, it will send weather information through radio waves to pilots flying in the Methow Valley area. The system also will offer flight-plan data via phone.
WSDOT used public feedback and analyzed several options for a real-time weather information system in Methow Valley. The area’s closest weather-reporting system is nearly 30 miles away at Omak Municipal Airport. Even though this distance is relatively short, Omak’s weather patterns tend to be vastly different compared with Methow Valley’s because of the terrain and altitude diffrerences between the two regions.
WSDOT runs 16 airports, including Methow Valley State Airport, which is the only airport in that group eligible for federal funding. Typically, travelers use the airport for recreational and business travel. It is also useful for emergency operations, such as transporting those involved with summer wildfire response.