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Mesonet adds Lewis, Nicholas sites

The Kentucky Mesonet is expanding its weather and climate monitoring network to Nicholas and Lewis counties.

A Mesonet station is being installed this week in Lewis County, just off the AA Highway near the Charters community. A station in Nicholas County was installed last week near the Nicholas-Bourbon county line on the farm owned by Bob and Carolyn Berrisford.

“We are extremely pleased to have a new stations installed in two more counties as part of the Kentucky Mesonet,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, director of the Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU. “These sites will provide valuable data to assist National Weather Service meteorologists in producing forecasts and severe weather warnings, and will also provide benefits to a wide range of interests in the local area.”

Since the Mesonet’s first station at the WKU farm in Warren County became operational in May 2007, 49 stations have been installed toward a goal of 100 stations statewide.

The Mesonet stations collect real-time weather and climate data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction. Data is packaged into observations and transmitted to the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year and is available online at www.kymesonet.org.

The statewide automated environmental monitoring network supports a variety of needs across Kentucky in agriculture, education, emergency management, energy, engineering and construction, recreation, transportation, water supply management and weather forecasting.

Stations are located in Adair, Allen, Barren, Boone, Breathitt, Breckinridge Bullitt, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Mercer, Metcalfe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Owen, Owsley, Rowan, Taylor, Trigg, Union and Warren counties.

Site license agreements have been reached in Marion and Muhlenberg counties with preferred sites identified in Boyd, Nelson and Shelby counties. Mesonet officials are actively pursuing sites in about 20 other counties, including Bath, Bell, Harlan, Lawrence, McCreary, Pendleton, Pike and Todd.

State Climatologist Stuart Foster is director of the Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center. Dr. Rezaul Mahmood, associate professor of Geography and Geology, is associate director of the Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center. The Kentucky Mesonet staff includes meteorologists and staff with expertise in instrumentation, information technology, quality assurance, and education outreach.  The Kentucky Mesonet also provides opportunities for WKU student employees and interns to work side-by-side with professional staff.

Initial funding for the project was secured by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell through a $2.9 million federal appropriation for the Kentucky Climate Center, part of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program in the Ogden College of Science and Engineering.

Contact: Stuart Foster, (270) 745-5983.

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