Construction firms rely on accurate weather forecasts

Posted by samakomlao Monday, June 1, 2009

Accurate weather forecasts are important as sports venue and road construction companies make work plans in the run-up to the SEA Games in December, a Vientiane weather forecaster says.

Head of the Meteorology and Hydrology Department's Weather Forecast and Aeronautical Division, Ms Souvani Phonevilay, said because Laos was hosting the SEA Games this year the department would be providing up-to-date information.

Competitors in the games would be able to receive weather forecasts through SMS text messages to mobile phones, while construction companies were contacting the department for current information.

“We have been quite busy with the onset of the rainy season because construction companies are especially interested in getting accurate weather forecasts so they can plan various construction jobs, especially those building sports facilities for the games,” she said yesterday.

“We are now giving information to about nine construction companies working on sports venues as well as five other construction companies. It's very useful for them in making plans for different aspects of their work.”

The department is issuing weather forecasts to the companies every day and one week ahead so they know how heavy rainfall will be. This is important for site supervisors wanting to work with cement or lay asphalt.

The department also issues weather forecasts every six hours.

“We are working with Lao Telecommunications (LTC) on providing weather forecasts through SMS text messaging during the SEA Games. LTC is considering whether they will support us in this,” Ms Souvani said.

In October, media will be invited to attend a seminar organised by the department about weather forecasts. Technical jargon will be explained so journalists can pass on information to the public and raise weather reporting standards to international levels.

The seminar will also prepare staff for providing forecasts to athletes so they will be informed about local weather conditions during their events.

Facility Construction Department Chief of the Lao National Sports Committee, Mr Phaiboun Chanthamaly, said “Weather forecasts are very important for us in planning construction of the main stadium for the games. We need to know how to schedule various jobs in advance so we can get everything done on time.”

“We get weather forecasts one week in advance from the Weather Forecast and Aeronautical Division. If we know it's going to rain we don't make plans to lay concrete or asphalt, or dig the ground to lay foundations.”

Now that it's raining, he said, workers were planting grass around the Km 16 national football stadium and had nearly finished the job.

“We need to know about the weather a week in advance so we can plan the next construction job. It's important for road construction and also in assigning manpower to the right area of work, especially during the rainy season,” said Deputy Project Head of the Phontong Road upgrade project, Mr Tingkham Sysavath.

He said if he knew heavy rain was on the way, he would stop paving or preparing soil and instead would lay drainage pipes or get on with other work that would not be affected by rain.

Accurate weather information ensured work went smoothly and the job would be finished on time, he said.

By Panyasith Thammavongsa

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