NWS Wilmington Mesonet Project
The National Weather Service in Wilmington needs your help! Exciting and changeable weather often visits the coastal
Carolinas. As a result many people have purchased inexpensive rooftop weather stations. These are
produced by a variety of manufacturers and report wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, pressure and rainfall.
Some people have taken the next step and have hooked their personal weather stations into a home computer.
There are many different software packages available which will display and archive readings from your
weather station automatically. Many of these same software packages also allow you to post your
live weather reports to a webpage.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington has started a project to tap into this new, rich source of weather information
to improve our warning and forecast programs. Every 15 minutes, we now collect data from nearly two dozen of these personal
weather stations and create a summary called the Local
Mesonet Observations product. Our staff of meteorologists can now
combine YOUR backyard weather report with dozens of other reports to improve our short-term weather warnings and forecasts.
Click here to see a comparision of a surface weather plot with and without
this new weather data.
If you would be interested in participating in this completely volunteer program, here are a few things you'll need:
- A Personal Weather Station. Prices start at around $150. Search an internet auction site for good deals.
- A computer. Almost any PC or Mac will do.
- An always-on internet connection like Cable, DSL, company LAN or dedicated phone line.
Choosing a good place for the instruments is up to you. Try to keep thermometers out of direct sunlight, keep rain
gauges away from tall trees and buildings, and put anemometers (which measure wind) up high off the ground and away
from obstacles. For more information about how you can participate in this program, please contact meteorologist
and he will walk you through the steps.
And who knows...your weather station may be the one that reports the highest wind gust during a hurricane, the heaviest
rain during a flood, or the warmest or coolest temperature during an extreme weather event.
This weather station installed in northeast Wilmington uses solar panels to power tiny transmitters which send weather
data wirelessly to a display panel and computer located indoors. Cost for this type of station is around $325.
Weather station computer software can create summaries and graphs of almost any weather element incluing temperature,
humidity, wind, rainfall, etc...