State weather data system now available on cell phonesPosted on Jun 8, 2018
Finding weather information via one’s cell phone is nothing new. But an app that is connected to the Kentucky Mesonet system is, and brings new meaning to real-time, Kentucky specific information from one of the most comprehensive weather data systems in the country.
The network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations scattered across the state was developed here by the Kentucky Climate Center (KCC) at Western Kentucky University. This new app is another step being taken by Mesonet developers to increase availability of a system that is proving its worth over and over again.
Dr. Stuart Foster, KCC Director and State Climatologist is in charge of community outreach for the Mesonet. He said reaching the public wherever they may be is important when it comes to keeping them informed about weather conditions.
“While our website provides a lot of information and reaches people across the state, it did not meet all the needs for those who are very active and very mobile,” he said. “There are lots of times when people in all sectors, including agriculture, need access to high quality local weather data.”
Being able to reach the public when they are away from their desktop computers was a driving force in developing the app.
This is the Mesonet staff’s first launch of a mobile app and Foster said they plan, in looking ahead, to build on the initial.
“As we were working on this first version, we were also making notes of some of the types of features we would like to add in the future,” he said.
Agriculturally speaking, being able to check changing weather conditions from the field is important especially at certain times during the season. This mobile app allows just that.
“This app certainly brings locally accurate weather information directly to farmers in the cabs of their tractors or combines,” he said. “And this highlights the opportunities going forward to even better integrate some of that weather information with the technologically sophisticated applications they have tied into their machinery.”
Foster added that the number of Mesonet stations is still on the increase in counties yet to have one, as well as from request for additional county stations by some local officials who already have a station in their communities.
“Once we get the stations out there, people see the value and that creates the demand for more stations,” he said. “These requests really validate what we are doing.”
Foster added that the culture of Kentucky in which people know each other, and care and communicate with each other especially in the rural areas, has contributed to accomplishments of the Mesonet system.
Because of that we have been able to reach out and build relationships at the local level and that is really, really critical to the success of the program,” he said.
The Kentucky Mesonet app can be accessed at system’s website, or through the various app stores available to mobile users.