Before the first significant snowfall in Arantec, we have had the opportunity to review and prepare the Nivo-Meteorological stations of Smarty Planet, especially focusing on one of the most important aspects of our winter work, which is minimizing the risk of avalanches.
We spoke with Iban González Abadias, also known as “Ibantxo,” a geologist and mountain guide. Ibantxo is a passionate mountain enthusiast, skier, and author of the two volumes of the book “Esquí Libre” published by Ed. Nive. He is a local avalanche forecaster in Somport and is part of the Arantec team.
Q: What work do you do before the start of the winter season?
A: The first step is to create a geographical map of the area, identifying all potentially dangerous zones. Based on the available meteorological information and our fieldwork, we then issue hazard bulletins for specific areas. In our case, there are 10 channels that can cause various problems on the roads.
Q: How is the daily work carried out?
A: When there is stability in both weather conditions and snow, we issue follow-up bulletins. When the forecasts indicate snowfall, that’s when we really spring into action. We issue an announcement bulletin, conduct daily fieldwork to assess the snow conditions, such as heavy snowfall with strong winds or accumulations in specific areas, and observe how the different layers of snow interact. We take measurements, conduct stability tests, analyze profiles to identify the situation. Subsequently, the final communication is issued.
Q: What is the purpose of all this work you do?
A: Our main goal is to ensure winter road safety. As an anecdote, I can tell you that one of the phrases I’ve heard the most in our industry for years is the following: “It’s easy to close a road. The difficult part is reopening it.” And it’s perfectly understandable because some people would reopen a road shortly after closing it due to avalanche danger, once the situation is under control. However, others prefer to be more cautious and wait longer. By the way, in our case, the closure and reopening of the road depend on the Ministry of Public Works and the General Directorate of Aragón (DGA).
Q: What technology do you use for your work?
A: Of course, when we start monitoring the weather conditions, our main reference is the meteorological stations from Smarty Planet, for example, which provide us with different parameters. With that information, we create our mental framework, which we later verify in the field to prepare the road hazard bulletin for roads with vehicle traffic, in order to minimize any risk to the population.
Q: Where are you located during winter?
A: I am located on the Somport road, and this year, along with my colleague Albert Piqué, I will also be responsible for the road to Balneario de Panticosa and the access to Llanos del Hospital (Benasque).
Winter in Smarty Planet
In Arantec, during the past few weeks, prior to the start of the winter season, we have carried out various tasks to prepare and maintain our Snow-meteorological stations, as well as other actions.
The recent installation of a 60T traction sensor for avalanche structures at Col del Peyresourde (France).
Maintenance, improvement, and tuning of the automatic Snow-meteorological station installed by Arantec in Panticosa. The remote web-cam of the station also allows for a system to monitor and control possible avalanches. We have also conducted the tuning of the rain gauge and the installation of a new snow depth meter.
Our participation in the Pyrenean Symposium on Snow and Avalanches at the V Jornades Tècniques de Neu i Allaus in Ordino – Andorra. As well as Arantec’s second consecutive participation in the Meteorological Technology World Expo 2017 in Amsterdam – The Netherlands last October, the world’s largest event on meteorology showcasing cutting-edge technologies in the field. These events provided us the opportunity to present our solutions and stay up-to-date with international developments.
Lastly, we would like to remind our customers that we offer the Smartyplanet Web Software, which is the flagship of Smarty solutions for visualizing, understanding, and controlling real-time data. The data can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
The daily work of engineers, programmers, and designers at Arantec allows us to advance and improve our Smarty solutions and our specific products for different sectors, for which you can find all the information at the following link: http://www.smartyplanet.com/categoria-producto/smarty-meteo/