The Kentucky Mesonet has added a strategic weather and climate monitoring site in Letcher County to its network of automated weather stations and will soon add a similar site in Harlan County.
The Kentucky Mesonet’s 6oth station was installed last month in Whitesburg and the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University has reached an agreement to install a Mesonet station on Black Mountain in Harlan County at an elevation over 4,000 feet near the highest point in Kentucky.
“These are strategically located sites that will bring value to people throughout southeastern Kentucky and will provide a critical data point for meteorologists with the National Weather Service who provide weather forecasts for the region,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, director of the Mesonet and the Kentucky Climate Center.
Data from the Letcher County site, which was made possible through a partnership with the City of Whitesburg, is available online at the Kentucky Mesonet website at www.kymesonet.org.
The Mesonet stations collect real-time weather and climate data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction. Data is packaged into observations and transmitted to the Kentucky Climate Center every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year.
“Because of the terrain and extensive forests, it is particularly difficult to identify viable observing sites in eastern Kentucky,” Dr. Foster said. “ We depend greatly upon local offi cials and landowners who understand and support our efforts on behalf of the people of Kentucky.”
Stations in Muhlenberg and Simpson counties are expected to be complete by the end of the year, he said.
The Mesonet’s first station at the WKU farm in Warren County became operational in May 2007. The statewide automated environmental monitoring network supports a variety of needs across Kentucky in agriculture, education, emergency management, energy, engineering and construction, recreation, transportation, water supply management and weather forecasting.
Other stations in eastern Kentucky are located in Breathitt, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, McCreary, Morgan, Owen, Owsley, Pike, and Rowan counties.