NMU buoys on Lake Superior give good information

Currently, as you sit, stand or casually lounge around reading this editorial, there are a number of buoys on the Great Lakes that are collecting valuable data and information that can be put to good use.

During the Oct. 24 storm that pounded the Upper Peninsula coastline with powerful waves and winds, which damaged roadways and altered some Lake Superior frontage, buoys owned by Northern Michigan University captured some interesting data.

Some of that information included the recordings of hurricane-force winds, as well as what’s been deemed a record-setting 28.8-foot wave height.

With the information provided by the buoys and other sources, the hope is that we’ll be able to make better projections as to the severity of storms that could impact our shoreline.

A few of the buoys operating in Lake Superior are located at Granite Island and Munising, as well as the Stannard Rock weather station. According to a recent article in the Journal that addressed the matter, NMU’s project to operate the buoys along the southeastern shore was established in 2015 with a grant from the Great Lakes Observing System.

The real-time, precise data promotes greater preparedness for coastal weather events and were heavily used in the late October storm by the National Weather Service, U.S. Coast Guard and other entities, according to NMU officials.

This data provides researchers with a pretty nice picture of the conditions on the lake, and in the long term can also help when forecasting future weather events and the development of large storms.

That information could prove extremely useful from the perspective of emergency responders and others who spread cautionary signals to the public.

Many of us are familiar with Lake Superior’s might, and understand how dangerous the great northern inland sea can be.

Allowing as much time as possible to prepare for a major storm event can only make it easier for all of us. With foresight, we can take the necessary precautions and send out the proper warnings to the public so that preparations can be made to hopefully lessen the impact on all of us.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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