The Kentucky Mesonet at WKU has signed an agreement with WEVV-TV (CBS/Fox 44) in Evansville, Indiana, to provide weather and climate data for viewers in that area.
“The Mesonet data will help inform people in the WEVV viewing area of conditions on the south side of the Ohio River,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.
Meteorologist Chad Evans said WEVV will be using data from several Mesonet stations in its coverage area, including Union, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Hopkins, Crittenden and Caldwell counties, on its newscasts and online.
“It’s really an asset that this network is available,” Evans said. “We’re going to utilize the Mesonet data – and mention the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU by name — in everything we do.”
The Kentucky Mesonet at WKU has 68 stations in 66 counties and is the Commonwealth’s official source for weather and climate data. The Mesonet, which is housed at the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU and is the only network of its kind in the Commonwealth, also has provided data to other television stations serving markets across Kentucky.
The Mesonet stations collect real-time data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction and transmit it to the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year. The data is available online at www.kymesonet.org.
That real-time data is important during severe weather, winter storms or fire seasons, Evans said. “When you can see the actual wind speed measurements, you can decide alert levels,” he said. “For example, if we know we’ve got a storm with 80 mph winds in Crittenden County, we can alert our viewers in Webster and other counties to be prepared. Having the Mesonet data is a real opportunity to make us better, especially in severe weather situations.”
The 2016-2018 budget approved last year by the General Assembly includes $750,000 a year for the Mesonet, but Dr. Foster and others continue their work to develop local partnerships across Kentucky to expand and maintain the network.
On Feb. 9, Dr. Foster provided updates on the Mesonet to county officials at the Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association winter conference in Lexington.
“The relationships with local elected officials are important to us,” Dr. Foster said. “We strive to provide a public service. With our data and through our partnership with the National Weather Service, we can help county officials and local residents make better informed decisions during severe storms or winter weather, and that helps enhance public safety across the state.”
About the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU: The statewide network includes stations in 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, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pike, Rowan, Shelby, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Union and Warren counties. State Climatologist Stuart Foster is director of the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU and the Kentucky Climate Center. Dr. Rezaul Mahmood, professor of Geography and Geology, is associate director of the Mesonet 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 2016-2018 budget approved by the General Assembly includes $750,000 a year for the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.
Contact: Stuart Foster, (270) 745-5983