In the concrete industry, accurate weather information can mean the difference between a profit and losing a day's work. Producers and contractors can make better decisions about scheduling crews and planning jobs with advanced weather forecasting systems.

For Imperial Construction Inc., Champaign, Ill., one of the biggest weather challenges is rain. Unforeseen showers can ruin or delay concrete pours. The contractor's work varies from concrete construction to structural steel erection and excavation. To prepare and plan for inclement weather, the contractor subscribed to the industry-specific Mx-Vision WeatherSentry Online Construction Edition from DTN/Meteorlogix.

This Internet-delivered subscription informs construction companies of changing weather conditions that can impact jobsites, endanger employees, and cause unplanned delays. Site managers can specify the exact location of their construction projects and pre-select weather conditions to monitor. Up to five users can subscribe, so each supervisor can keep an eye on the weather from his worksite.

The service provides real-time local radar, detailed location-based hourly forecasts, and a precipitation timing tool that gives accurate start and stop times for rain, snow, and ice. Customized instant weather alerts are sent to the managers' cell phones. The service monitors custom weather parameters 24 hours a day.

Imperial Construction also uses Lightning Manager for advance warning of dangerous weather based on real-time lightning data. The contractor can set a 15- or 30-mile radius around his job-sites and receive alerts if lightning strikes within the warning zones.

Forecast for success

Accurate weather information helps Imperial managers ensure safety, particularly in extreme summer heat. “When the forecast calls for a very hot day, we will start and end our crews' day earlier,” says estimator Michael Slade.

Job planning also depends on the weather. “We can control our order status from the local concrete producer. If rain is in the forecast, we may call the plant and tell them to hold off on our order,” Slade says.

Knowing the exact ambient jobsite temperature also helps, as extreme heat and cold impact the curing process.

Don Leick is the product management director at DTN/Meteorlogix, a business-to-business weather information provider. For more,

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The following storm protection products can help producers protect equipment and plan around dangerous weather.

Surge and lightning protection with full warranty

Centurion motor truck scales feature surge voltage and lightning protection technology that protects the entire weighing system from load cells to weight indicator. The manufacturer's five-year warranty includes replacement parts, labor, and travel-related expenses. The system can be retrofitted onto an existing truck. B-Tek Scales. 800-266-8900.