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Airliners Become Weathermen as Sensors Upend Forecasting

As a storm predicted to deliver freezing rain and ice neared Dallas last November, airlines began canceling hundreds of flights. Not Southwest Airlines Co.

Armed with a new generation of sensors measuring moisture in the air on 87 of its planes, the airline had better data than the U.S. government’s twice-a-day weather balloon system. Its weather team knew the storm wouldn’t bring the ice that can snarl airport traffic.