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A new weather data processing system, which provides important up-to-the-minute information to air traffic controllers, was demonstrated Tuesday at the Federal Aviation Administration's Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center.

The recently installed system, called the Meteorologist Weather Processor, was shown to news media personnel and demonstrated at a ceremony in the Salt Lake center, 2150 W. 7000 North.Those attending the program included representatives of the FAA, the National Weather Service and the Harris Corp., the contractor that provided the new system.

The Salt Lake center is the last of 21 "en route" facilities across the country to receive the equipment, which greatly upgrades weather-gathering capabilities, said Dick Meyer of the FAA's Northwest Mountain Region public affair office in Seattle.

Meyer said the project completes the first phase of an upgraded, nationwide weather gathering system that provides the fastest, most accurate data available for air traffic control personnel.

The new state-of-the-art system combines data from the National Weather Service's weather wire, FAA radars and the geostationary operational environmental satellite. A constant stream of weather data and satellite imaging is fed via communication satellite to weather service forecast centers within each of the FFA's en route facilities. There, forecasters provide the most up-to-the-minute information to controllers.

Pilots are provided both route and hazardous weather conditions as they move along their route. Controllers can then route aircraft around or over severe weather disturbances for safer, more comfortable flights.

Meyer said the processor is designed to carry weather services to the air route traffic control system into the 21st century.