Big Bend Conservancy
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Fort Stockton airport receives new forecastsNational Weather Service will provide 24-hour infoBY GEOFF FOLSOMOdessa AmericanPECOS COUNTY Pilots will soon have a better idea what to expect from the skies near Pecos County-Fort Stockton Airport.The airport will begin receiving Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts from the National Weather Service’s Midland office Dec. 5. The 24-hour forecasts give pilots information on winds, cloud ceilings, visibility, precipitation and other possible weather.“For pilots coming in, they’ll know what the weather will be,” Doug Cain, weather service lead forecaster and aviation focal point, said. “Right now, there’s nothing to tell pilots, ‘There’s a storm approaching in an hour’ or things like that.”Growth in Fort Stockton, along with traditionally volatile weather coming in from the Davis Mountains, led the weather service to make Fort Stockton the fourth airport to receive the forecasts from the Midland office, Cain said. Midland and Wink are provided forecasts, along with Carlsbad and Hobbs, N.M.Fort Stockton received approval for the forecasts after a lengthy application process involving the Federal Aviation Administration, Cain said. Among the requirements was that the airport have 24-hour weather observation.David Hancock, the airport’s fixed base operator, said Fort Stockton now becomes a possible landing site when weather shuts down Midland International Airport.“It’ll give us kind of a new dimension as an option for pilots,” Hancock said. “It gives us better insight as to what we have to do.”Pilots can access the information through flight service when they file flight plans or via the Internet, Cain said.The next airport to receive the forecasts could be in Presidio or Marfa, if traffic amounts grow, Cain said. But, for now, Fort Stockton is a good choice.“Our mission is protection of life and property,” he said. “We can better do that by providing forecast services for the Fort Stockton airport.”
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