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Mesonet adds Clinton, Boone stations

The Kentucky Mesonet has expanded its weather and climate monitoring network to 44 sites with installation of stations in Clinton and Boone counties.

The Clinton County station is located about one mile north of Albany on property owned by the Clinton County Board of Education. The Boone County site, installed in conjunction with the Boone County Cooperative Extension Service, is located on Camp Ernst Road.

“We are extremely pleased to have these new stations installed 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.”

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.

During the passage of a cold front on Dec. 9, 38 Mesonet stations recorded wind gusts of more than 40 mph with eight stations recording gusts of more than 50 mph. Click here for a high wind summary.

Since the Mesonet’s first station at the WKU farm in Warren County became operational in May 2007, 44 stations have been installed toward a goal of 100 stations statewide. Mesonet technicians hope to have 45 stations operational by the end of 2009, Dr. Foster said.

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, Bullitt, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harrison, Hopkins, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Mercer, Metcalfe, Morgan, Ohio, Owen, Owsley, Rowan, Taylor, Trigg, Union and Warren counties.

Additional site installations are progressing in Breckinridge, Henderson and Lewis counties. Site license agreements have been reached in Nicholas, Marion and Muhlenberg counties. Negotiations are under way in hopes of securing sites in about 30 other counties, including Bell, Boyd, Harlan, Knott, McCreary, Nelson, 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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