The Kentucky Mesonet is adding its 70th station created through a partnership with the Pulaski County community. The new weather station will be located at Northern Elementary School in Somerset. Installation of that station is expected to begin later this spring.
Stuart Foster is the state climatologist and director of Kentucky Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center. He said locating a weather station at a school offers educational opportunities.
“We have a few stations across the state that are located on school properties. We certainly like those situations because they do create a synergy there,” said Foster. “We have the ability to reach out and work with teachers and students at those schools.”
The new Pulaski County station is the fifth one funded through local partnership agreements, the type of collaboration expected to increase as more sites are added.
“The Kentucky Mesonet depends on partnerships to be successful. We have support at the federal, state and local level and that local level is really important because our stations in the network are community based,” said Foster.
Another sponsorship agreement has been reached with the Fulton County Conservation District. That Mesonet station is located at Fulton County High School in Hickman, through a partnership that includes the Fulton County Board of Education.
“That site at Hickman is a very important station for us because of its location in the extreme southwestern corner of Kentucky,” Foster said. "That station provides us with the first glimpse of weather coming into Kentucky from the west."
He said the commitment of the Fulton County Conservation District has allowed Mesonet to make several upgrades at that station, including a new precipitation gauge and installation of soil temperature and soil moisture probes.
Kentucky Mesonet is operated by Western Kentucky University and headquartered at the Bowling Green campus. Mesonet stations collect real-time data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed and direction. The data is transmitted to the Kentucky Climate Center every five minutes, 24 hours a day, throughout the year. That data is available online at www.kymesonet.org
In the most recent version of the state budget, Mesonet is fully funded at $750,000 a year. State lawmakers and the governor will continue to negotiate a final budget when the General Assembly goes back into session April 13 and 14.