Kentucky Mesonet opens 78th operational site


Photo provided by the Kentucky Mesonet.

One of the Kentucky Mesonet operational sites outside Barren County.

Alexandria Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

The Kentucky Mesonet, a collection of weather stations across the state, will soon open its 78th operational site in Russell County.

The Mesonet’s headquarters are located at WKU, where Kentucky Mesonet director Jerald Brotzge works as a meteorology professor. Brotzge said the addition of the new site will increase the data fed to the National Weather Service.

“All of our operational forecasts are made better by the inclusion of this data,” Brotzge said. “The more data that we feed the numerical models, the more accurate the weather forecast. So the more gaps we can fill across the state, the more accurate those local forecasts will be.”

He said the additional data collection also benefits local areas, as it is used within a variety of fields.

“Locally, data from individual weather stations are used by local county level, emergency managers, farmers to train transportation agencies, even public health,” Brotzge said. “There are a lot of different ways local data are used by the community.”

The Mesonet currently has 78 operational sites across 74 counties. The newest site is located on a hay farm, and Brotzge said the data collected will help with hay production

“That station will help facilitate that farm to know when to plant, when to harvest and help aid their hay production through the work of that particular farm,” Brotzge said. “We hope to help farmers statewide learn more about how to apply weather information to hay production.”

The headquarters at WKU process the data collected from individual stations, as well as works on quality control and analyzing total data into statewide products, Brotzge said.

“We make that data available to users,” he said. “We do that by displaying the data online as well as streaming that data to users, such as transportation, merchants, management, media, whoever would like access to the data.”

Brotzge explained the Mesonet benefits from its central location as WKU, as it has access to faculty that do research as well as a student body.

“Through their [faculty] research, [we] improve the data quality of the network,” Brotzge said. “We also have access to undergraduate and graduate students for both operations and research. Because we have that support here on campus, we’re able to continue to operate and improve the functioning of the network.”

Editor-in-chief Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected].