The hefty check was part of a ceremony held by Lawler Elementary School in Grayson County where WKU’s weather department constructed a weather mesonet last year on school property.
The initial funding for the project was secured by McConnell through a federal appropriation for the Kentucky Clilmate Center, part of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program in the Ogden College of Science and Engineering.
More than 20 mesonet sites are operational with a goal of approximately 100 stations. The environmental monitoring network supports needs across Kentucky in agriculture, education, emergency management, energy, engineering and construction, recreation, transportation, water supply management and weather forecasting.
Kentucky has experienced three historical weather events in the past year; ice storm, hurricane strength winds from Hurricane Ike and 20 tornados from one storm. The mesonet is a statewide monitoring network that collects real-time weather and climate data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction. That data is packaged into observations every five minutes and transmitted to the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU every 15 minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year. You can find the information at www.kymesonet.org.
The first station at the WKU farm in Warren County became operational in May 2007, more than 20 stations have been installed and plans for expanding the network are progressing. The mesonet has partnered with universities, school districts, businesses, farmers and others for site locations.
Other stations are located in Adair, Barren, Breathitt, Bullitt, Caldwell, Calloway, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Fayette, Franklin, Hopkins, Jackson, Knox, Lincoln, Logan, McLean, Mercer, Ohio, Owen, Rowan and Taylor Counties. Additional site installations are scheduled for Breckinridge, Crittenden, Cumberland, Johnson, Lewis, Madison, Marshall, Metcalfe, Morgan, Owsley, Pike and Union Counties.
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.