Kentucky Mesonet at WKU to add station in Wayne County

The Kentucky Mesonet at WKU has reached an agreement to install a station that will become a vital local source of weather and climate data in Wayne County.

The site is located on private property near Monticello. Site hosts Calvin and Kelly McFarland said: “We are definitely excited to offer the space for a Kentucky Mesonet station, providing a much needed way to gather local weather information to help keep Wayne Countians and our neighbors safe.”

The site is well-positioned relative to the population center of the county on land that is broadly representative of the area. “We are always pleased when we can find local residents who are civic minded and have a long-term commitment to their property and to their community,” said State Climatologist Stuart Foster, director of the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU and the Kentucky Climate Center.

The Mesonet will provide half of the funding to install the station while Wayne County Fiscal Court will provide the other half as well as annual funding for site maintenance.

“We are very excited concerning the installation of the Mesonet here in Wayne County,” Judge-Executive Mike Anderson said. “We are fortunate that a land owner donated an area free of charge for the installation of the weather measurement station.”

Dr. Foster worked with Anderson and county emergency manager Sherwin “Bubby” Corder to identify a site. “There was a broad base of interest and support in the community to bring a Mesonet station to Wayne County,” Dr. Foster said.

Anderson agreed. “Our radio stations have been and continue to be very supportive and the farming community is looking forward to this valuable tool as expressed by Dan Vickery during our Fiscal Court meeting February 13,” he said. “Mr. Vickery pretty much assured the Fiscal Court that he could raise funds to help support the Mesonet on a yearly basis. We have a tremendous farming community here in Wayne County and everyone is looking forward to this technology. Thanks to our EMS, WKU, our land owner and all involved in making this happen.”

The Mesonet stations collect real-time data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, barometric pressure, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, soil moisture and soil temperature and transmit it to the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU Operations Center (housed at WKU’s Center for Research and Development) every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year. The data is available online at www.kymesonet.org.

The station also will have a field camera to collect images of landscape and weather conditions.

Data will be sent to the National Weather Service forecast office in Jackson, which includes Wayne County as the westernmost county in its weather warning area.

“Kentucky Mesonet data is a valuable component of our severe weather operations and directly supports the National Weather Service mission of protecting lives and property. We value our relationship with the Kentucky Mesonet and have come to rely on their information year-round for both current weather and climate applications within the areas of eastern Kentucky that the National Weather Service office in Jackson serves,” said Ed Ray, meteorologist-in-charge at the Jackson office.

Installation of the Wayne County station should begin in late spring or early summer. The station should be operational later in the year.

The Kentucky Mesonet at WKU is the Commonwealth’s official source for weather and climate data. The first station was installed at the WKU Farm in May 2007. By the end of 2020, the Mesonet expects to have at least 75 stations operating, covering well over half of Kentucky’s counties.

“The Kentucky Mesonet is built upon local partnerships, establishing relationships between WKU and local officials, while providing data for various state and federal agencies that help to enhance the quality of life in our local communities,” Dr. Foster said.

About the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU: The Kentucky Mesonet at WKU is the Commonwealth’s official source for weather and climate data. The statewide network includes 73 stations in 68 counties: Adair, Allen, Barren, Bath, Boone, Boyle, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, LaRue, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McLean, McCreary, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pike, Pulaski, Rowan, Shelby, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren and Webster. The Mesonet stations collect real-time data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, barometric pressure, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, soil moisture and soil temperature and transmit it to the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU Operations Center (housed at WKU’s Center for Research and Development) every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year. The data is available online at www.kymesonet.org. State Climatologist Stuart Foster is director of the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU and the Kentucky Climate Center. The project was initially funded with a $2.9 million federal grant for the Kentucky Climate Center, part of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program. The first station was installed at the WKU Farm in May 2007. In recent years, Dr. Foster and others have been working to build a broad base of support across Kentucky to continue development and maintenance of the network. The 2018-2020 budget approved by the General Assembly included $750,000 a year for the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.

Contact: Stuart Foster, (270) 745-5983

Posted with permission from WKU News

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