Congressman Banks, NOAA Assistant Administrator visit Harris Corp

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Congressman Jim Banks and Assistant Administrator Dr. Stephen Volz with the satellite division from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration toured Harris Corporation Friday.  Harris designed, built, and tested the imager on board the GOES-16 satellite that captured such stunning images of Hurricane Harvey.

The Advanced Baseline Imager (or ABI) allowed meteorologists to see new features as Harvey developed. Dr. Volz said, “What you saw with Harvey, if you were watching the videos and you were watching the TV, is the visualization of the storm is really revealing a lot of details that we knew were happening and we might infer that, but we couldn’t image them. We couldn’t visualize them in our mind.”

Sam Lashley, Senior Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Northern Indiana office, said, “GOES-16 is game-changing in the world of meteorology. It’s like going from black and white TV to HD in one day. And we’re going to be able to see resolution of features and storms we’ve never been able to see before…so we are literally seeing this storm in real time from this satellite which we’ve never been able to see before.”

Volz continued, “Where the bands of rain were happening, not just it’s gonna be in the southwest it’s gonna be there. But it’s gonna be in Beaufort, not in Corpus Christi. It’s gonna be 20 inches here and 5 there. That kind of forecast capability. Once we start building that into our systems, into our information services, is gonna be essential to allowing planners to deal with it a week in advance, not minutes in advance and not an after-thought.”

Congressman Banks said of Harris, “It was lost on me before I went to Congress to understand the scope of what you do here. It’s critical to our public safety.”