SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The National Weather Service office in Kanawha County now has a newer and bigger home. And it has some neat “bells and whistles” to go along with it.
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held Thursday morning for an expanded National Weather Service office in South Charleston. The agency simply outgrew its cramped quarters on Corridor-G.
The new offices are in a bigger building at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. It also includes a new interactive exhibit called “Science on a Sphere.” School kids will be able to tour to the facility and see weather conditions across the globe in real-time.
The exhibit can even track fish, turtles, and other events around the world.
“You can see the current storms on a sphere. You can actually watch the migration of fish. You can watch volcanic eruptions in the ocean. It’s really fascinating,” said Jamie Bielinski, of the NWS.
“They can identify storm systems that are coming in quickly. I think for emergency services they have a direct line to emergency services to try to help communities when there is a weather event. It’s important to know that our aviation sector uses the weather service here,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.
The new facilities are seen as critically important in forecasting the weather in flood-prone West Virginia. It is also hoped the weather office and the “Science on a Sphere” exhibit will help attract more high-tech ventures to the West Virginia Regional Technology Park and encourage students in STEM education.
The developers of the project are optimistic. Right now, 22,000 square feet are being used by this venture, but another 9,000 square feet are available for expansion.