The Woodward News

November 17, 2012

Mesonet recognizes partners

Gary Engel
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. —

The Southern Plains USDA Research Station in Woodward is being recognized for its cooperation with the Oklahoma Mesonet.

Mesonet officials said the local site has contributed to the overall program success by providing up-to-date weather information.

Landowners, like the USDA, allow the Mesonet to use their properties to gather information.



CELEBRATING LANDOWNER PARTNERSHIPS

Dr. Chris Fiebrich, associate Mesonet director, said as par of the recognition each site was presented with an anemometer, which measures wind speed, signed by the Mesonet staff.

The Mesonet is celebrating a 20-year relationship with the landowners. Half of  their 120 stations statewide are located on private property, while the rest are at academic, city, state or other federal sites.

"The recognition's 20-year celebration commemorates the anniversary of the Mesonet's public launch in 1994," said Fiebrich.

Fiebrich said the information on the Mesonet sites is updated every 5 minutes, allowing farmers, firefighters, weather forecasters and emergency management personnel to receive real-time climate information.

Jim Bradford, a plant physiologist at the USDA station in Woodward, said having access to Mesonet weather data aids the USDA's plant research.

"We combine that information with what is gathered at our station," he said.

The Mesonet is a joint program conducted by the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.



NO NEW SITES PLANNED

Fiebrich said the Mesonet has reached its goal of having at least one monitoring station in each of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

"We're not planning to add any right now," he said.

If a landowner wants to have a Mesonet station placed on their property, the proposal has to be evaluated by a governing board of the organization to see if the site is valid.

Fiebrich said prospective Mesonet participants need to be aware that a monitoring station is not simply one that may be purchased at an electronics store and fits in a window.

"They are about $20,000," he said. "A 30-foot tower is attached, and there is all kinds of electronic equipment involved to gather data and transmit it to a central computer."



WOODWARD STATION ONLINE SINCE 1992

While the public role of he Mesonet is being celebrated for the 20 years it has existed, Fiebrich said Woodward's station at the USDA facilities actually went online in 1992.

Some of the highlights at the USDA site include:

- Hottest day, Aug. 2, 2012, 112 degrees.

- Coldest, Dec. 24, 2004, minus-3 degrees.

- Most rainfall, Oct. 24, 2000, 9.22 inches.

- Strongest wind gust, May 25, 2012, 74.8 mph.

To access conditions, Fiebrich said to go to www.mesonet.org.

"Then, enter Woodward or the zip code in the space provided," he said. "Or, click on the map."

For more information about the Mesonet, contact Fiebrich at (405) 325-2541.