Weather Buoy Lost at Sea During Hurricane Harvey

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UPDATE (12/14): Plans are underway to replace an important weather buoy that drifted away after Hurricane Harvey.

The buoy stationed off Port Mansfield face about 12 hours of strong winds and rising sea levels as Hurricane Harvey stormed through.

The buoy logged valuable weather readings that benefitted boaters.

It's expected to be replaced in January.


PORT MANSFIELD – Records of tropical storm winds and seas rising more than 23 feet were some of the last data collected by Station 42020, a government weather buoy pounded by Hurricane Harvey.

The buoy was the sole sentinel of the area 35 miles off Port Mansfield. Boaters and fisherman see it as a loss for reliable weather data.

"The weather changes, you know you can get in some bad situations," said Captain Todd Grubert, the owner of Fairwater Charters, a fishing tour company.

Before heading out, Grubert checks weather apps that once pulled data from Station 42020.

Midday Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey passed within 27 miles of the buoy, ultimately ripping it off its anchor.

"We had powerful waves on top of that sea," said Barry Goldsmith, a National Weather Service meteorologist, "that were more than likely agitating the sea not only at the surface but below the surface, where the anchoring is done."

After breaking away, Goldsmith said the buoy floated around the Gulf of Mexico, still sending GPS coordinates and weather data.

"Before those observations finally went dark," said Goldsmith.

Buoy 42020 is somewhere out there. Meanwhile, people in Port Mansfield will rely on readings from weather stations further from their area.

Goldsmith said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working to replace the buoy.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS is reaching out to that agency for more details on when it will happen.


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