Originally deployed in 2012, thanks to funding from the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) through a grant from Lee County, the RECON weather stations became the first weather stations in this area located directly over the water. Designed to give researchers and boaters near real-time information on the current over water weather conditions, they quickly became the go to weather source for the local boating community.
On September 28th 2022 hurricane Ian passed over Sanibel causing wide spread damaged to the area. Unfortunately, all three of the RECON weather stations were lost during the storm. Two of the stations, Red Fish Pass and Fort Myers, were located on wood piling channel markers. Both of the pilings were completely destroyed in the storm and are gone. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) placed temporary navigation buoys at these locations after Ian. The third station lost was the Gulf of Mexico. This station was located on a steel pilling channel marker. While the piling survived the storm, the storm surge and 20 plus foot waves ripped all of the station components off of it.
This week the USCG Cutter Vise has been working in the area replacing the lost channel marker pilings. We believe the Fort Myers and Red Fish pilings have been, or will soon be replaced. However, even though these pilings are back, it will still be sometime before we are able to get the weather stations online due to the loss of the equipment.
There is some good new though! A project that was in the works before Ian, to upgrade a weather station located on the Marine Lab building to a RECON weather station has been completed. Located at the lab on Tarpon Bay, this new station will help fill the gap until we are able to get the other stations back online.
We are currently exploring funding opportunities to replace the lost equipment and get the other stations back online as soon as possible. Until then we hope you find this new station useful.
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