The Kentucky Mesonet’s newest station in Butler County – the first funded exclusively through local partnerships — became operational this week.
“We’re excited about the Butler County station because it’s the first site we’ve added through a partnership with local stakeholders,” said Dr. Stuart Foster, state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Mesonet. “We see this as the model for stations moving forward.”
The Butler County station, located near Woodbury, is the 66th in 65 counties across the state and is the first added since early 2014.
The Butler County Extension Service coordinated the project with local farm leaders and government officials. The station was funded with support from the City of Morgantown, Butler County Fiscal Court, Butler County Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. Sam and Helen Moore donated the property for the Mesonet site. Local meteorologist Landon Hampton also was instrumental in moving the project forward.
The Mesonet stations collect real-time weather and climate data on temperature, precipitation, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction and transmit it to the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU every five minutes, 24 hours per day, throughout the year and is available online at www.kymesonet.org.
Instrumentation at the Butler County station, located near the Green River, will include soil probes to monitor temperature and moisture as a way to provide extra value to farmers and the agriculture community, Dr. Foster said.
“The data also will go to the National Weather Service office in Louisville so they’ll have a more informed picture of weather conditions in Butler County that will be valuable when making decisions on when to issue severe weather and winter storm warnings,” he said.
The first Mesonet station was installed at the WKU Farm in May 2007. The project was initially funded with a $2.9 million federal grant for the Kentucky Climate Center, part of WKU’s Applied Research and Technology Program. In recent years, Dr. Foster and others have been working to build a broad base of support across Kentucky to continue development and maintenance of the Mesonet.
“As we work to build out the network across the state, we are seeing proof that local stakeholders recognize the value of having a station in their area and are willing to support the Mesonet and provide funding for the station,” Dr. Foster said, adding that local partnerships have been established to install stations in Boyle and Shelby counties.
The Mesonet’s statewide network includes stations in Adair, Allen, Barren, Bath, Boone, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Campbell, Carroll, Casey, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Hardin, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, Hopkins, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, LaRue, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McLean, McCreary, Meade, Mercer, Metcalfe, Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pike, Rowan, Shelby, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Union and Warren counties.
Contact: Stuart Foster, (270) 745-5983