Nov. 2, 2013. The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian State University, and RaysWeather.com have partnered to launch specialized weather websites, BRPweather.com and BRPwebcams.org, specifically for the Blue Ridge Parkway and its 469 mile stretch of terrain from Cherokee, NC to Waynesboro, VA.
Using information from weather stations and webcams installed along the Parkway, BRPweather.com and BRPwebcams.org include custom forecasts, live weather conditions, live webcam images and video, radar and satellite imagery, and climate information.
Data from the sites is freely available to researchers in a standard format for projects ranging from park management to research in climate/meteorology, education/outreach, ecology, biology, etc. The Park Service will use the webcams and weather information to improve safety on the Parkway by being more alert to weather changes and adverse road conditions. This unique partnership will be a revenue generator for the Parkway, with a portion of the proceeds being donated back to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
Roughly 15 million visitors travel “America’s Favorite Drive” each year making it the most visited national park. The diversity of terrain can offer surprises for travelers from one destination to the next. BRPweather.com will take the guesswork out of what weather lies ahead.
Carolyn Ward, CEO of Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation says, “We are so excited to see the BRPweather.com site go live. The impact this will have on visitors, local communities and on the managers of the Blue Ridge Parkway will be tremendous. As we all know, the weather in our mountains changes from one ridge to the next, and this site will help us all plan better, be prepared, and enjoy our Parkway adventures even more.”
Having weather conditions and forecasting specific to the Blue Ridge Parkway will help visitors avoid severe conditions, allowing for better trip planning and a more enjoyable Parkway experience; however, there is more to this project than just predicting weather hazards.
Dr. Ray Russell, CEO of RaysWeather.com says, “BRPweather.com and BRPwebcams.org are not JUST about the danger. Our primary goal is to celebrate the modern, dynamic, live story of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most of the time pleasant weather is a fundamental natural resource that brings millions of visitors every year. Cool air, glorious sunrises/sunsets, 100+ mile views, sky events of various forms, etc. are compelling reasons to visit the Parkway. Live weather (pictures/webcams) and visitor reports are the best way to tell the story in era of mobile computing and social media.”
About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, is the primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Foundation is forever committed to preserving the past, enhancing the present, and safeguarding the future of America’s Favorite Journey®. We are proud to serve and support this extraordinary environment that connects the spirit of countless people through a twisting ribbon of mountain road. We are a strong defender of the Parkway, funding needed projects that enhance and protect the natural, cultural, historic, and recreational qualities that make the Blue Ridge Parkway an American treasure.
RaysWeather.com began in 1999 with Ray, one backyard weather station, and a wintertime snow forecast. From that small start, RaysWeather.com now boasts a total of 5 office staff and 5 forecasters and meteorologists covering the mountain region from Waynesville to Sparta, including Asheville, Burnsville, Banner Elk, Boone, Jefferson, and the foothills from Mt. Airy to Morganton.