10 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-697

Combat meteorologists prepare for winter in Herat

HERAT, Afghanistan - Italian Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Renato De Novellis of Guidonia, Italy, prepares the weather report using information gathered by Automatic Weather 11, the outside weather station, at Camp Arena, Herat, Dec. 8. The weather station provides hourly reports including wind direction and speed, temperature, humidity, likelihood of precipitation, and visibility to the pilots at the forward support base. (ISAF photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan - Providing a vital role in flight operations, weather forecasting and observation at RC-West is performed by a four -member Italian Air Force team from the 51st Wing assigned to the Operational Support Squadron at the Forward Support Base, Herat.

Weather observations are conducted every hour from sunrise to sunset with a 24-hour capability when necessary. 

“Our role here is important…weather is important for flights all over the world,” said Italian Air Force Major Marco Corsi, chief of the weather cell.  “Pilots need to know what the weather is for flight safety, and as we have a lot of mountains in this area, so visibility can be a problem, especially for the helicopters during winter.” 

The weather cell utilizes special equipment which takes different readings of the weather and feeds the information to computers for the observers to record and disseminate.  The cell expects to receive a new weather station from the Italian Air Force in January. 

“The container will be bigger, more comfortable; it’s the new generation,” said Corsi.  “It has all the instruments inside.”

Last winter, Afghanistan had record-breaking snow fall and freezing temperatures dropping below -24C.  Extreme low temperatures affect all operations.

“Last winter was extreme,” said Corsi.  “It is impossible to predict if this winter will be as difficult as forecasting is really only reliable up to five to seven days out.”

With winter right around the corner, the role Corsi and his weather observers fulfil becomes increasingly important. 

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/