Kentucky Mesonet at WKU adds station in Russell County

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Photo courtesy of WKU

Ono, Ky. – The Kentucky Mesonet at Western Kentucky University is branching out.

On Tuesday, a ribbon cutting celebrated a new weather and climate monitoring site in Russell County.

According to a release from WKU, the station includes a 33-foot tower with instrumentation that measures air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation and solar radiation.

Attendees at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting event included but were not limited to state climatologist and Mesonet director Dr. Jerry Brotzge, WKU president Dr. Timothy C. Caboni and John Gordon, the meteorologist-in-charge at Louisville’s National Weather Service office and Kentucky Mesonet Advisory board chair.

The university says this will help with weather forecasting and increase lead times for severe weather warnings in the Lake Cumberland region.

The land for the site along KY 1611 was donated by Russell County farmer John Adams.

“These stations provide data in real-time, and are archived as the climate record for Kentucky, ” said Brotzge, who added that over 150 million observations are collected annually by the nearly 80 Mesonet sites across the state. “Data are made available in real-time to the National Weather Service, who in turn ingests data into their operational numerical models, thereby providing much improved weather prediction across all of Kentucky. Mesonet data are also used for issuing weather alerts and warnings.”

The weather and climate information is also used by farmers across the state, helping to optimize planting, fertilizing, irrigation, pest control and harvesting schedules, according to WKU.

“In addition to emergency management and agriculture, Kentucky Mesonet data are also used for aviation, ground, and rail transportation; recreation and tourism; public health; energy; education and commerce,” Brotzge said.

Last year, the Kentucky General Assembly invested $1.75 million into Kentucky Mesonet, which will allow for all Mesonet sites to soon be fitted with new webcams with hopes of establishing at least one station within every county in the commonwealth.