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Kentucky Mesonet adding stations in Letcher, Harlan counties

The Kentucky Mesonet is adding strategic weather and climate monitoring sites in Letcher and Harlan counties in eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky Mesonet logoThe Kentucky Mesonet’s 60th station was installed last week in Whitesburg and the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU has reached an agreement to install a Mesonet station on Black Mountain in Harlan County at an elevation over 4,000 feet near the highest point in Kentucky.

“These are strategically located sites that will bring value to people throughout southeastern Kentucky and will provide a critical data point for meteorologists with the National Weather Service who provide weather forecasts for the region,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, director of the Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center.

Data from the Letcher County site, which was made possible through a partnership with the City of Whitesburg, is available online at the Kentucky Mesonet website.

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 every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year.

“Because of the terrain and extensive forests, it is particularly difficult to identify viable observing sites in eastern Kentucky,” Dr. Foster said. “We depend greatly upon local officials and landowners who understand and support our efforts on behalf of the people of Kentucky.”

Stations in Muhlenberg and Simpson counties are expected to be complete by the end of the year, he said.

The Mesonet’s first station at the WKU farm in Warren County became operational in May 2007. 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, Bath, Boone, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, LaRue, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McLean, McCreary, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Morgan, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pike, Rowan, Shelby, Taylor, Trigg, Union and Warren counties.

About the Kentucky Mesonet: State Climatologist Stuart Foster is director of the Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center. Dr. Rezaul Mahmood, 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.

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

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